Soccer team confident heading into home opener against Oakland
Traveling to Mount Pleasant on Friday, a revamped Oakland Grizzlies will face the Central Michigan University soccer team who is looking to open the 2014 home schedule with a victory.
The Grizzlies have plenty of fresh faces on the team, making them an interesting opponent for CMU’s also young squad.
“Oakland is another quality Horizon League opponent,” head coach Peter McGahey said. “They have a new Coach in Margret Saurin. I’ve known her for a number of years, and she does a really good job. You have a little unpredictability in terms of how they are going to play. We are certainly looking forward to the challenge on Friday.”
Saurin is the third Oakland head coach in three years. Following the 2012 season, famed OU head coach Nick O’Shea resigned after 19 seasons with the program. In his time at OU, he won 15 league titles and was named league coach of the year three times.
Despite the coaching change, the Grizzlies finished 10-9-2 in 2013 under interim head coach Dave Morgan.
Oakland started the 2014 season with a 1-4 record, allowing nine goals.
The Grizzlies lost four of their top six scorers from the 2013 season, including top forward Meghan Reynolds.
Grizzly forward Kyla Kellermann scored eight goals last season and already found her way to the back of the net once during OU’s first five games.
CMU will attempt this year to stop Kellermann and the OU offense with defenders Emily Basten and Lauren Sherry. The pair has started all three of the Chippewas matches this season and assisted in a shutout against Detroit last week.
On offense, the Chippewas will attempt to use strong wing play to gain the advantage over Oakland.
“(The wings) are always a place where you want to capitalize,” McGahey said. “You want to impose your strengths as a team. Strength on the flanks is one of ours.”
Sophomore Eliza Van De Kerkhove remains CMU’s primary main threat out wide this season. She has taken three shots and scored one goal.
Van De Kerkhove’s crosses will also be important to get senior forward Laura Gosse on the score sheet.
Gosse has been strong in attack, shooting four times, but has yet to find the back of the net.
Above all else, the Chippewas look forward to playing at home for the first time this season.
“Student athletes have so many responsibilities off the field in addition to classes,” McGahey said. “It’s relaxing for them to do their schoolwork and sleep in their own bed before the game. It’s stressful to play anywhere you play, but it is a lot better to play at home.”