HUNTINGTON, W.Va.- Through the first part of the 2011 season, the Marshall Thundering Herd men’s soccer team was struggling to score goals, managing just one finish through five games. On Friday night at Sam Hood Field, though, the Herd made sure there were plenty of goals to go around as the team stampeded to a 3-1 victory over the Golden Grizzlies of Oakland.
Three separate players scored for the Herd as it claimed its second win in as many games with a 3-1 victory over Oakland University. In front of a raucous crowd of 700, the cool, night air provided a good backdrop for a men’s soccer team that began to heat things up when senior Kyle Sniatecki scored a brilliant goal from 35 yards out. The Depew, N.Y., native’s shot caught Oakland goalkeeper Scott Messer off his line, and dropped into the top corner of the net much to the delight of his teammates and fans.
Sniatecki’s goal brought an end to a rather dull opening 50 minutes that saw the teams combine for a mere 10 shots overall and just one shot on goal apiece. The long-distance goal ignited a fire in his teammates, who began attacking with more vigor and pace.
Freshman Jahvon Allison was the next to get in on the act, steering home his first career goal for Marshall after a Tom Jackson shot was deflected by Messer right to his feet for an easy tap-in. The Herd was now up 2-0, doubling both the previous scoreline and the number of goals it had scored to date in the season.
Following Allison’s 63rd minute goal, the offensive action continued to pick up on both sides of the field. Oakland’s 6’7’’ forward Jake Przybycien cut the Grizzlies’ deficit in half with a 67th minute header that eluded goalkeeper Daniel Withrow and landed inside the far post of his goal. With the score now 2-1, the visitors continued to press forward in the attack, but found themselves exposed in the 73rd minute when Allison stripped them of the ball at midfield and laid it off for the onrushing Michael Hayes to take possession.
The sophomore from Fort Wayne, Indiana, then outran the Oakland defense and closed in on the opposition’s net. After seeing his initial shot get saved by Messer, he then made no mistake in following up the rebound for an easy tap-in and a 3-1 Marshall lead.
“It was nice to have guys like Michael Hayes and Jahvon be able to come in and score some goals,” said Head Coach Bob Gray following the match. “I thought that Oakland were actually the better team at the beginning of the first half, but we didn’t let them score, made some key substitutions, and were right back in it by the end of the first half.”
Indeed, Marshall ended up tying the Grizzlies in shots with 15 apiece, but proved to be the better side on the score sheet when all was said and done. Both teams had further chances to add goals – most notably with Tom Jackson hitting the post and goalkeeper Daniel Withrow saving an Oakland penalty – throughout the second half, but in the end Marshall held onto its two goal advantage to move to 2-4 on the season, while the Grizzlies drop to 0-5-1.
“Give all credit to Oakland,” continued Gray. “They are a team that has played a tough schedule and is way better than the record shows. In the end I am happy to get the win in front of a great crowd, and happy to take another step forward with this young team. It was definitely nice to finally put away our chances and get a deserved result.”
Marshall will now hope to make it three wins in a row when it hosts the Winthrop University Eagles this Sunday at 1:00 p.m.