Written by: Zack West

A great era ended Sunday night when the fifth- seeded University of Akron dropped their NCAA tournament game to 12th seed Creighton in penalty kicks.

With the loss, head coach Caleb Porter coached his last game as an Akron Zip.  

Porter will move to Major League Soccer where he will be the head coach of the Portland Timbers starting with the 2013 season.

“I was overcome with emotion. I knew it was the last time I would be on that field as a coach,” Porter said. “It’s hard not to get choked up because it’s been a great ride.”

The Zips dominated the play most of the game, gaining the advantage in shots (31-11) and shots on goal (10-2).

The team went ahead in the 12th minute with a goal by Reinaldo Brenes off an assist by Wil Trapp.

The team continued to put the pressure on Creighton, but could not find another goal the rest of the way.

Jeff Gal, goalkeeper for the Blue Jays, ended the game with eight saves.

Creighton found the tying goal in the 83rd minute.

In the first overtime, the Zips had a chance to finish the game when a Blue Jay defender was called for a hand ball in the box.

Gal came up with a nice save off the penalty kick from Scott Caldwell.

With the second overtime ending in a tie, the two teams moved to penalty kicks. Both the Zips and Blue Jays made their first three kicks, but the fourth was missed by the Zips.

The Blue Jays converted all five of their shots.

Porter spoke highly of his team and their accomplishments during the regular season.

“This team had that special ‘it’ factor of finding ways to win games,” Porter said.

The Zips graduate four seniors: Chad Barson, Caldwell, David Meves and Thomas Schmitt.

“I’m just in disbelief,” Caldwell said after the game. “There are no words to describe right now.”

Some of the players spoke of Porter after the game.

“We’ve been through thick and thin together,” Barson said. “He’s been like a father figure to me.”

The Zips, who had ended their regular season as the top-ranked team in the nation, finish with a 18-1-3 record.