Nov. 4, 2011
ROCHESTER, Mich. - Meghan Reynolds scored the match-winning goal, as the fourth-seeded Oakland women's soccer team (9-10-1) earned a 1 -0 victory over top-seeded South Dakota State (12-6-2) in the semifinals of The Summit League Championship on Friday at the OU Soccer Field. The Golden Grizzlies advance to play in the championship match on Sunday at noon.
"It was a battle in every sense of the word," said head coach Nick O'Shea. "Our players did a great job tonight, getting that first goal to take the lead was a key. They put some pressure on us down the stretch, but we are very happy and excited to be in the Summit League championship game."
Reynolds scored in the seventh minute to give OU an early lead in front of the home crowd. Shannon Doyle set up the goal with a through ball into space and Reynolds outpaced her defender before she slotted the ball into the right side of the net. It was the team-leading seventh goal of the season for Reynolds, who is an All-Summit League first-team selection.
Goalkeeper Anne Berschbach controlled the penalty area and made two saves to earn her fifth shutout of the season. The league-leader in save percentage, she made a key stop in the 60th minute when she tipped a shot close-range shot by Cori Bonte just over the crossbar to preserve the Oakland lead.
Oakland outshot SDSU 10-4 in the first half, but Danielle Neuhalfen nearly put the Jackrabbits ahead in the third minute with a shot that went just outside of the right post. SDSU had another scoring chance at the end of the first half, but Christa Nyblom shot wide of the goal.
Reynolds came close to netting a second goal in the 83rd minute when she ran in behind the defense to receive a pass from Nicole DeLuca. However, she pushed her shot just wide to the right.
SDSU's best chance for an equalizer came in the 88th minute. Steph Peterson swung a free kick towards Bonte, who shot high from inside of eight yards. Oakland held on for the win and finished the match with a 15-8 edge in shots and a 4-2 advantage in shots on goal.
The Golden Grizzlies will face No. 2-seed North Dakota State in the championship match on Sunday at noon. The Bison beat UMKC 2-1 in the other semifinal of The Summit League Championship. Sunday's winner will earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
"I think the fans impacted the players tremendously tonight," said O'shea. "Sunday is supposed to be an awesome day so it would be great to have a big crowd again."
Oakland has won The Summit League Championship six times and reaches the championship for the ninth time in the last 12 years.