COLUMBUS, Ohio – Shannon Coley saved three penalty kicks as Oakland (11-5-4) advanced 3-1 in a shootout after a 1-1 draw with No. 4-seeded Ohio State (16-4-2) in the opening round of the NCAA tournament on Saturday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
The Golden Grizzlies advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history and travel to Tallahassee, Fla. to face Texas A&M on Friday.
“We’re so excited to be moving on in the tournament,” head coach Nick O’Shea said. “We’ve been to the tournament a number of times and haven’t been able to get past the first round. This group of players that we have right now worked very hard over the last few years to try to help us accomplish that and [Saturday] it came true. Hard work pays off and I’m just very proud of our team right now.”
After the score finished tied at one following 110 minutes of play, the match was decided in a shootout. After Whitney Sarkis made the first shot for OU, Coley denied Ashley Gruebaum, putting Oakland ahead 1-0. After Meghan Reynolds converted her spot kick, Coley made another diving save to deny Ellyn Gruber, giving OU a 2-0 lead.
Although the Golden Grizzlies failed to score on the next two penalties, Coley made a third consecutive stop before finally conceding on the fourth OSU kick. With OU up 2-1, Nicole DeLuca stepped to the line and converted the shot that sent the Oakland bench erupting onto the field.
Julianne Boyle blasted Oakland in front with a goal in the 41st minute. Joan Sieja slotted a pass across the penalty area and Boyle one-timed the ball into the back of the net from the edge of the goal area. It was the first goal for Oakland in the NCAA tournament since the 2006 season and marked only the second time that OU has led in an NCAA tournament match.
Tiffany Cameron scored in the 61st minute to level the match at one. The goal snapped a streak of more than 453 minutes without allowing a goal for the Oakland defense.
Oakland played well early and had some close chances, which included a near miss by Abigail Haelewyn.
Ohio State outshot Oakland 28-5 in the match, but was forced to hit most of the shots from long range, resulting in just a 7-3 edge in shots on goal. Coley made six saves, while Jillian McVicker made two stops for OSU.
This was the eighth NCAA tournament appearance for Oakland, which won The Summit League regular season and tournament championship. The Golden Grizzlies tied four matches this season, including three against Big Ten opponents.