Oct. 21, 2010
ROCHESTER, Mich. - The Summit League-leading Oakland women's soccer team will host a pair of key conference matches this weekend against IUPUI and Western Illinois respectively. The Golden Grizzlies will face the Jaguars on Friday at the Ultimate Soccer Arenas at 7 p.m., with the match against the Leathernecks kicking off at 1 p.m. on Sunday at the OU Soccer Field.
"This weekend is especially important because we're facing two teams that both made the tournament last year and are also doing very well this year," said head coach Nick O'Shea. "We are on top of the league right now and our goal is to do well in both these games and stay on top, but we need these wins or things can turn around quickly."
Oakland (8-5-2, 4-0-1) comes into the weekend on top of The Summit League standings as the only team without a loss in conference. The Golden Grizzlies are one of the top offensive teams in the country with the No. 4 scoring offense in the NCAA, scoring an average of 2.87 goals per game. The Golden Grizzlies also rank first in ever offensive category in The Summit League including goals (43), assists (36), points (122) and shots (257).
The Golden Grizzlies picked up a conference road win in their last outing with a 5-2 victory over IPFW. The Mastodons were persistent in the first half, but freshman Serena San Cartier scored twice within a span of 16 seconds to give Oakland the lead for good. Sophomore Kara Weber, senior Dani Haelewyn and sophomore Nicole DeLuca each scored in the match. DeLuca leads The Summit League with nine goals this season, while each of the other three players that scored in the match rank in the top 10 in goals this season in the league. DeLuca's 21 points are also the most of any player in The Summit League.
IUPUI (8-8, 4-2) picked up a pair of league wins last week. The Jaguars downed Centenary 3-0 and then defeated Oral Roberts 2-1 thanks to a pair of goals by Megan Hock. After scoring three goals, including two match-winners , over the weekend Hock was named The Summit League Offensive Player of the Week. Brock is the leading scorer for the defending Summit League Tournament champions with seven goals this season. Sarah Colby is also an offensive threat with four goals and three assists, while Alicia Brock tops the team with five assists and three goals. Oakland is 10-3 all-time against IUPUI, but has dropped the last two meetings in the series by a 3-1 margin both times.
Western Illinois (8-4-4, 4-1-1) also won twice last week, beating Oral Roberts 3-2, before downing Centenary 5-0. The Leathernecks are on a three-match unbeaten streak and boast the league's top defense with a league-low 0.76 goals against average. WIU goalkeeper Lauara Atkinson ranks 16th nationally, with her Summit League -leading .872 save percentage. Offensively, Jordan Spaciel leads the WIU team with four goals. The Golden Grizzlies are 12-3-1 against Western Illinois, but WIU got the victory last season 2-1.
Despite being the only unbeaten team in the league, Oakland is technically in a three-way tie for first place in the league standings, which are based on points. The Golden Grizzlies are level on 13 points with both South Dakota State and Western Illinois, but have played one game less than the other two schools. OU also has the highest conference winning percentage of .900 which would serve as the tiebreaker.
Admission to Friday's match at the Ultimate Soccer Arenas is $7 for adults, while children's admission is just $4 and a rate of $4 per-person is also available to groups of 25 or more. Admission is free for Sunday's match at the OU Soccer Field and it will be Senior Day to honor the team's five seniors. For fans that are unable to attend the match, live stats for the Oral Roberts match will be available at OUGrizzlies.com.