Men's soccer team looks to head-butt the Falcons

Written by: Zack West

The University of Akron men’s soccer team breezed through the 18-game regular season, finishing with an impressive record of 15-1-2.

The Zips will enter the MAC tournament tomorrow at FirstEnergy Stadium-Cub Cadet Field ranked No.1 in the country. They will face the Bowling Green Falcons at 7:30 p.m.

The Falcons have a record of 8-8-2, 3-3-1 MAC. The Zips posted a 2-0 win over the Falcons when they traveled to Wood County on Sept. 22.

Their only loss came against the seventh-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Sept. 9. Since then, the Zips have been on a 12-game winning streak. Since the sole loss, the Zips defense has only given up one goal.

Senior goalkeeper David Meves has been the anchor for the defense this year by giving up only six goals, and by tallying 14 shutouts and 47 saves. He also broke the national record for career shutouts by posting the 51st of his career against Michigan State on Oct. 31. Meves currently has 52 shutouts.

Meves’s outstanding performance this season earned him National Player of the Week by College Soccer News. He holds the school records for minutes played, wins (74) and shutouts.

The offense has been energized by Reinaldo Brenes and senior captain Scott Caldwell. In a breakout year, Brenes leads the team with 10 goals. Caldwell leads the team with nine goals, six assists and a record of 3-3 on penalty kicks.

“This team is really playing well,” head coach Caleb Porter said. “They have shown through the regular season, playing the best teams in the country, that they are hungry to win.”

The Zips have the No. 1 non-conference rating percentage index in the country; in non-conference play, the team went 8-1-2. They played two draws with No. 12 Creighton and No. 17 St. John’s, and took the loss to No. 7 Notre Dame. The non-conference wins came from No. 21 Indiana, Florida Gulf Coast, SIU Edwardsville, South Florida, Penn State, Michigan, The Ohio State University and Michigan State.

Porter explained that the team splits the year into three seasons: the regular season, the MAC tournament and, “most importantly,” the National Tournament. Being ranked No. 1 in the country, Akron looks to bring home its ninth MAC championship and its second national championship in three years.