2004 Oakland Women’s Soccer Season Wrap-up

Oakland’s 2004 women’s soccer team saw many new faces arrive this season after losing 6 starters and 10 letterwinners due to graduation last year. The new cast was made up of six freshman and five sophomores, with only two juniors and three seniors on the squad. Even with the amount of young players on the team, OU’s women’s soccer team was once again able to realize some great successes against a difficult schedule; one that saw them face opponents with a combined record of 215-149-32.

Oakland was unlucky in their home opener as they fell in double overtime to Western Michigan. Freshman Courtney McCracken (Farmington Hills, Mich.) was able to tie the game at one goal apiece in the 87th minute, but the Broncos managed to slip in a winner with just over a minute left to play in the second overtime for the win.

The Golden Grizzlies split games twice as they competed in both the Holiday Inn Select Classic at home and the Michigan Classic in Ann Arbor. During their tournament play, Oakland’s dangerous attacking duo of Kristi Swaving (Albuquerque, N.M.) and Marianne Samdal (Tiller, Norway) combined to give OU its first victories of the year picking up two goals and an assist, and two goals, respectively. OU’s wins came in the fashion of a 3-1 defeat over Marquette, and 1-0 win over Syracuse.

Junior forward Kristi Swaving was named All-Mid-Con first team in 2004.

After out-shooting Mid-Con opponent, Centenary, 21-11 in their conference opener, Oakland was unable to find the back of the net. However, Centenary did manage to squeeze in a goal in overtime to take home the win. Swaving also picked up another assist helping Samdal to her third goal of the season at Dayton, but again the Grizzlies couldn’t quite hold on as the Flyers scored the winner just seven minutes from the final whistle.

On Sept. 25, Oakland squared up against another Mid-Con challenger, IUPUI in Indianapolis. Oakland defender, Katie Arnott (St. John’s, Newfoundland) opened the scoring in the 61st minute off of another Swaving assist. IUPUI managed to equalize in the 74th, but it was Swaving who answered back only one minute later to pick up her third goal of the season.

The Golden Grizzlies returned home on Sept. 27 for a battle against cross-town rival Detroit. Oakland out-shot the Titans in regulation, 21-10, but again had trouble finding the net. However, it only took 40 seconds of overtime for Oakland junior, Silje Peltopera (Karasjok, Norway) to net her second goal of the season for the game winner.

After the emotional win over rival Detroit, OU went on the road and dropped a game against Indiana (3-0). Still on the road, Oakland got back on track against Toledo as McCracken finished the lone goal of the game for her second on the year.

Oakland then returned for a stretch of home games starting against Mid-Con foe Western Illinois on Oct. 8. The Golden Grizzlies grabbed another win with a 3-0 victory. To get the win, McCracken stayed hot, recording her second game-winning goal in as many games increasing her season tally to three. Arnott also netted her second goal of the season and Swaving tacked on the final score, her fourth of the year. In their second straight conference match-up, Oakland couldn’t produce another win, and Valparaiso carried home a 3-0 victory.

The next two matches were against in-state rivals, Michigan and Michigan State. The Wolverines were ranked #13 in the country at the time, and Oakland knew they would have their work cut out for them. The Golden Grizzlies defense dug in and fended off 14 U-M shots, five of which were saved by freshman goalkeeper Jessica Howard (West Bloomfield, Mich.), holding them scoreless. The game-deciding moment came in the 53rd minute when Swaving beat her defender and the goalkeeper to give OU a 1-0 lead and eventually the “W”.

The in-state rivalry against Michigan State would also prove to be another battle. After going down 2-0 before halftime, the Golden Grizzlies turned things around in the second half, scoring just 7 minutes after the halftime whistle. Michigan State pulled ahead by two again, but Swaving scored her second goal of the game only three minutes later to bring the deficit back to one. The Golden Grizzlies fought hard, but were unable to find an equalizer, and the game finished 3-2 in favor of the Spartans.

Junior midfielder Silje Peltopera was named second team All-Mid-Con in 2004.

Oakland then hit the road again traveling to their last two Mid-Con match-ups against Oral Roberts and Southern Utah, as well as Purdue. OU fell to Oral Roberts (5-0) but were able to prevail over Southern Utah, winning the game 4-2. The game also allowed the Golden Grizzlies to clench a Mid-Con tournament berth - their sixth straight since entering the Division I level in 1999.

Oakland hosted the 2004 Mid-Continent Conference Tournament and kicked off their first round game against #1 seed Oral Roberts. The two teams battled through 90 minutes of regulation, and 20 minutes of overtime before heading into penalty kicks to decide a winner. OU and Oral Roberts both made their first and third attempts; Oakland’s coming via Swaving and Susann Kamrud (Trysil, Norway). Then after a questionable goalkeeper substitution, which was eventually deemed legal by the officials due to an injury to the original netminder, OU was unable to convert their last two penalties and fell 3-2 in the shootout.

After a tough season full of ups and downs, a few of the Golden Grizzlies were recognized for their hard work. Swaving was named to the Mid-Con all-conference first team, collecting seven goals and seven assists throughout the season. She also finished first in the Mid-Con for shots, tied for second for assists, and was the fourth highest point scorer in the Mid-Con. After her two-goal performance against Michigan State, Swaving was also named as a Mid-Con Player of the Week for the week of Oct. 18.

Two other Golden Grizzlies, Peltopera and Cat Panabaker (Hamilton, Ontario), were appointed to the Mid-Con all-conference second team for their performances throughout the season. Peltopera tied for second among Grizzlies for points through four goals and two assists. Panabaker anchored the Golden Grizzlies’ defense that registered six shutouts throughout the season.

Oakland had a lot of young players in the team this year, and they have grown over the course of this past season. Losing only three seniors to graduation, OU will be returning the heart of their lineup - now with another year’s experience under their belts. With all-conference honorees Swaving and Peltopera returning for their senior seasons, the Golden Grizzlies will look forward to a successful season again next year.

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