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Oxford, Berkley play to wet, windy draw WITH PHOTO GALLERY

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OXFORD – The host Oxford Wildcats and visiting Berkley Bears played to a 0-0 draw on a wet and windy Wildcat Field Monday night.

With the field slick from rain just before game time and a strong wind kicking up, any kind of direct ball was hard to play, and neither team really got in sync offensively all night.

“I think it was more the wetness. I always felt like this field was a little bit slicker for some reason,” Berkley head coach Cliff Brandmier said. “I think the wind was a little bit (of a factor), but I think more was just the actual wet turf.”

“The first half, we took the wind, and the wind got the best of us. You could see how many balls rolled off the end line that we just couldn’t link up with,” Wildcat head coach Phil Kimmel said. “You get it on this surface, the ball just wants to run,” he added.

Of course, as well as the defenses were playing, neither team likely would have done much offensively even under perfect conditions. With senior Emma Gordon anchoring the back line, the Oxford defense turned in an outstanding performance, limiting Berkley to just four shots on goal.

Wildcat goalie Megan Armbruster was tested a couple of times in the first half especially, but came up with an outstanding diving save on Berkley’s best chance of the night.

For the most part, the defense in front of her limited Berkley’s chances from start to finish.

“Megan Armbruster played phenomenal. She bailed us out in the first half a couple of times,” Kimmel said. “The defense definitely played well. We had a lockdown. We have a solid back four, and they played very well.”

Not to be outdone, the Bears defense gave up just five shots on goal. Led by sophomore Caroline Tripp, Berkley’s defense won all of the key challenges and Oxford was never able to sustain any kind of possession deep in Berkley territory.

“Caroline Tripp was our best player,” Brandmier said. “She was really, really solid and gave great cover. She was able to recover because she’s very quick. I thought she played, really, really well. Our back line overall played really well.”

The Wildcats’ best chance came in the second half with the Berkley keeper out of the net. But as they did seemingly all night, the Bears were able to clamp down defensively and end the chance harmlessly. Lauren Koch tracked back from midfield to steal the ball from Oxford’s forward and start the counterattack for Berkley.

Oxford’s Jade Schramm was the most dangerous offensive player for either team, getting three or four solid chances, but the Berkley defense was able to keep her off the score sheet.

The Bears were able to generate some offensive pressure in the second half behind a formation change, but Berkley was largely unable to convert the pressure into quality scoring chances against the Oxford defense.

“We changed to a very unorthodox formation that helped generate (chances) because it’s just very, very tricky how to defend it,” Brandmier said.

Berkley (5-2-2, 1-0-1 OAA White) is back in action on Thursday when it travels to Royal Oak in another OAA White matchup.

Oxford (1-2-4, 0-1-2 OAA White) is also back in divisional play on Thursday when they travel to West Bloomfield.

“That’s a must win for us,” Kimmel said. “I’m not saying must win as in talent level or anything, but we’ve got to get rolling if we’re going to be a contender here. We’ve got to get a couple of wins under our belts.”

Last Updated: 5/1/2017 10:39:19 PM EST


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