Akron men’s soccer falls short against St. John’s

By Ben Holda

The Zips lost to St. John’s Red Storm last Friday with a score of 1-2 in the second of two overtime periods. This came one week after they dominated the College of Charleston tournament. Their overall record is 2-1-0.

St. John’s is rated 23rd in the nation, and this game comes as something of an upset. The Red Storm went 10-5-4 last year, which is impressive, but it hardly stands up to the Zips’ record of 18-1-3.

The Zips were up against a back four who weren’t anticipated to be as big of a challenge as they proved to be. The efforts of Jamie Thomas and Jimmy Mulligan, the two star defensive backs of the Red Storm, likely had a hand in this.Gallego-Bryan_082412514-1

The Zips spent most of the game deep in the Red Storm’s territory and naturally their defensive midfielders entrenched themselves in order to rebuff the advances of the Zips. Slipping a goal through six defenders is no easy task. This created a near paradoxical system of play where the Zips would maintain possession of the ball for the majority of the time, but because of an inability to get the ball into a reasonable place to take a shot, nothing ever materialized out of it. On the other hand, St. John’s would get the ball and be able to move it up the field and take a shot every once and a while.

The game went like that for about the whole 90 minutes. Around the 50th minute, Eric Stevenson cracked a shot that smashed into the corner of the goal from 20 yards out, putting the Zips up 1-0. In reciprocation, forward Josh Godec slotted in a goal for the Red Storm and tied up the game. The point came from a grounded through ball into the center which was tapped past Fernando Piña. The point came 2 minutes and 57 seconds after the Zips scored.

The intensity surely turned up, but neither side was able to take advantage of the other for the full length of regulation play. The closest the Zips got was when Saad Abdul-Salaam was taken down inside of the penalty box as he readied to take a shot. This typically toggles a penalty kick, but no such kick was awarded.

After regulation play, an overtime period came and went without much development. Then came the second of the two possible overtimes. In the 106th minute, Mulligan was taken down by an Akron defender in the box and a penalty kick was given. Mulligan booted it in without much difficulty and the game was won.

Zips Overtake Rutgers

The Akron Zips beat Rutgers University in double overtime last Sunday. This boosts their record to 3-1-0, redeeming them after losing to St. John’s University two days prior. Rutgers was rated No. 6 in their conference but was not placed on the NCAA’s list of the Top 25 college teams.

The game was largely back and forth through the first half, with a couple of decent opportunities getting shut down either by error on the part of the player or by competence on the behalf of the goalkeeper.

Just after the teams reconvened for the second half, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights managed to materialize a point. This came out of a well-placed cross, which Kene Eze of the Rutgers team deflected past Piña and into the goal. Then, just a couple of minutes after that incident, Reinaldo Brenes caught the Rutgers goalkeeper out of position and took a shot, which glanced off of the side post and went out of bounds.

After that, the Zips kept the pressure on the Rutgers team, outshooting them by a wide margin. The final tally for shots taken was 28-8, though Rutgers had more shots that went within the confines of the goal, by 5-4. Nothing came of this until the 85th minute, when Eric Stevenson slipped the ball past the Rutgers’ defense to Ismail Seremba, who took a fairly ranged shot from 18 yards to tie the game.

After the first overtime period passed uneventfully, the second overtime period commenced. In the 105th minute, Brenes was awarded a penalty kick, which he put into the back of the net skillfully, and the game was won.

The Zips look to repeat this success next weekend at The University of Akron Tournament.

Ben Holda can be reached at [email protected]