ROCHESTER HILLS — Kyle Berthel made sure that Oakland University which maintain its lead in the Summit League men’s soccer race Saturday night.
The sophomore scored a pair of goals and Oakland toppled visiting UMKC, 3-1, in a showdown of the co-league leaders at the OU Soccer Field.
“We’re pleased to get a 3-1 win against a strong UMKC team,” said Oakland head coach Eric Pogue. “I think we played hard for the first 60 minutes and went up 3-0, but then we took our foot off the gas.”
Bethel put Oakland (9-4-0, 4-0-0) in front with a goal in the sixth minute. Derek Nowak played the ball to Bethel, who found space just outside the penalty area and unleashed a hard strike that curled in at the far post.
The Golden Grizzlies threatened to add to the lead in the ninth minute when Lucas Diener hit a free kick that rattled off the far post and Bethel rifled the rebound over the goal. One minute before halftime, Oakland’s pressure paid off with a second goal. Jeff Cheslik took the ball from a defender and hit a hard shot that skipped off the wet ground and into the back of the net.
Oakland outshot Kansas City 10-8 in the first half and 19-15 for the game, including 10-3 with shots directly on frame.
Bethel made it 3-0 in the 53rd minute when he finished from close range. John DeLeon beat his mark to start the play, before serving the ball to Matt Dudley in scoring this season.
K.ansas City (5-6-1, 3-1) pulled a goal back in the 76th minute. Jordan Rideout found open space near the penalty spot and volleyed the ball into the back of the net for the lone goal of the night for the Kangaroos.
Oakland outshot UMKC 19-10 and had a 10-3 edge in shots on goal. Eliott Tarney finished the night with two saves for Oakland, while Connor Sparrow made seven stops for the Kangaroos.
“I don’t think we finished the game the way we wanted to and it kind of left us with an empty feeling,” said Pogue. “Maybe that’s good heading into a game with a tough in-state rival in Michigan State.”