The Loyola men’s soccer team took on Oakland University Golden Grizzlies on Labor Day morning.
Loyola Men’s Soccer Defeats Oakland in Labor Day Battle
The Loyola men’s soccer team took on Oakland University Golden Grizzlies on Labor Day morning, the Ramblers came out on top after a back-and-forth match.
Loyola came into the game fresh off of a 2-2 draw against Cleveland State University Friday Sept. 1, making their record 1-0-1.
Neither side was able to create much action offensively early in the first half. Oakland goalkeeper Alex Flowers kept Loyola’s offense working, saving all three shots on goal by the Ramblers.
Loyola maintained control of the ball throughout the first half but struggled to sink anything in the back of the net. First-year forward Petar Janjic shot multiple attempts while working with redshirt third-year defender Lukas Ender and graduate midfielder Markus Maurer to create a push.
First-year defender Noel Hansson helped support Loyola goalkeeper Aidan Crawford multiple times in the first half, by blocking and preventing shots from the Golden Grizzlies’ offense. The Ramblers out-shot the Golden Grizzlies 8-1 at the end of the half.
The second half started off similar to the first, with the Ramblers maintaining the majority of possession but failing to score. Fourth-year forward Oscar Dueso was a force this game, stopping a free kick from OU’s Owen Smith and keeping control of the ball while surrounded by his opponents.
In the 74th minute, Janjic found the back of the net, putting Loyola in the lead and scoring his first goal of the season in front of his family and friends, making it even more special to him.
“To score in front of them — make them happy, make them proud — that’s the greatest feeling in the world,” Janjic said.
The Ramblers made some good defensive plays, especially Hansson who deflected multiple shots and robbed OU’s Smith of his final attempt in the 89th minute of the match.
At the conclusion of the match, the Ramblers had outshot the Golden Grizzlies 22-7 and Crawford made two saves all game to help clinch the win for the Ramblers.
Both teams made more substitutions than usual due to the intense heat at Loyola Soccer Park. With 46% humidity and a high of 92 degrees, Head coach Steve Bode said the team was subbing players in and out so they could take a break from being out in the sun.
While the Ramblers improve their standing, there is still chemistry that needs to be built within the team, according to Bode.
“We did graduate a few players last year in the attack,” Bode said. “We have new players, we have young players — we are still building the chemistry. We’re a work in progress there. We need to improve, and we’re going to keep improving on it.”
The Loyola men’s soccer team will take on University of Illinois Chicago on Friday, Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. at Loyola Soccer Park. The game will be streamed on ESPN+.
Featured image by Holden Green | The Phoenix