Heading to penalty kicks tied 1-1, the Wright State men's soccer team converted all six of its penalty kick attempts, the final by AJ Paterson, to advance 6-5 over Oakland in the Horizon League semifinals Thursday night at Alumni Field.
The match was scoreless at halftime despite the Raiders outshooting the Golden Grizzlies 14-4. Paterson, though, finally put WSU in front at the 80:04 mark of the second half with his third goal of the season as the junior midfielder took a deflection from the Oakland defense and connected on a short shot to the left of the goal.
The Golden Grizzlies, however, answered just 1:11 later with a goal of their own and the match stayed tied 1-1 through the remainder of regulation and through two overtime periods.
It then came down to penalty kicks and both team rose to the challenge, with both connecting on their first five attempts. In the sixth round, freshman goalkeeper Joel Sundell came up with a stop, setting the stage for Paterson, who went to the right as the Oakland goalkeeper dove left for the decisive kick.
It is just second time ever that Wright State has won a match on penalty kicks, with the other being a 4-3 decision over UIC on November 7, 1998 during the Midwestern Collegiate Conference Tournament in Indianapolis. The Raiders are now 2-2 in matches decided on penalty kicks, with Thursday's contest being the first since falling 10-9 to the Flames on the road in the first round of the Horizon League Tournament on October 28, 2006.
WSU finished with a 22-8 shot advantage and led 12-3 in corner kicks. Sundell recorded two saves on the night.
Wright State (11-5-3) will face #2 seed UIC, a 2-1 overtime winner over Milwaukee in the first semifinal, for the championship Saturday night at 6:00 at Alumni Field, with the winner advancing to the NCAA Tournament.