“The University of Akron’s men’s soccer team defeated the Stanford Cardinal Sunday night by a score of 2-0, sending them into the elite eight of the NCAA tournament. Goals by forward Teal Bunbury and midfielder Anthony Ampaipitakwong highlighted the Zips 22nd win of the season.””
The University of Akron’s men’s soccer team defeated the Stanford Cardinal Sunday night by a score of 2-0, sending them into the elite eight of the NCAA tournament.
Goals by forward Teal Bunbury and midfielder Anthony Ampaipitakwong highlighted the Zips 22nd win of the season.
I thought it was a business-like game for us and that is something we have focused on, UA head coach Caleb Porter said. I think the tendency, at times, is for teams to try to change things because now you are playing for a national championship. Some put extra pressure on themselves or get extra excited and I think you need to do the exact opposite.
You need to continue what you have done all year. For us, that is playing our style – dictating the game on both sides of the ball, jumping on a team early with our pressure, speed of play and movement.
Following suit on the rest of the season, the team jumped out early in the first half of the game.
In the 29th minute of the game, Bunbury scored his nation leading 17th goal of the season.
A corner kick was sent into the box and bounced off of the head of defender Chad Barson. The ball bounced right to Bunbury’s head and he placed the ball in the left corner of the net.
The assist was Barson’s first of his career at Akron.
Nearly eight minutes later, Ampaipitakwong stayed hot scoring his third goal of the NCAA tournament and his eighth goal on the season.
A free kick was drawn for the Zips just outside of the box and Akron yet again showed its expertise at set pieces when Ampaipitakwong struck from 26 yards out, placing the ball perfectly in the upper left hand corner of the net.
Akron finished the half with a 2-0 lead, outshooting the Cardinal 9-0 and also leading in corner kicks 6-0.
I thought our first half was one of the best halves of the year, Porter said. In fact, I’m not so sure I have seen a college soccer team do what we did to a team like we did in the first half in any season I have been a part of.
This team has a whole other gear they go into at certain times. I know there is even another level they will get in the next round and in future rounds.
The Zips did not score in the second half, but the defense shut down Stanford to close out the game and secured goalkeeper David Meves’ 14th shutout on the season.
Meves has now tied former Zip Evan Bush’s shutout record in a single season, set in 2005.
They are honest, Porter said. It is not just the backs and midfielders, but the whole team.
It is not easy to press the way press. You have to have complete buy-in. If one player does not buy-in, it is easy to break. But, when all 10 are buying-in, especially like they did in the first half, it is virtually impossible to break.
Stanford was a formidable opponent as most teams are in the NCAA tournament and head coach Bret Simon later commented on how good of a team Akron is.
First I’d like to congratulate Akron, Stanford head coach Bret Simon said. What a beautiful team, Coach Porter has assembled a great group of players and they’re playing the way all of us would like to play.
I think it’s a beautiful style, they’re attractive on offense, they work very hard on defense and today they scored two goals on restarts. So I think they played a complete game and it’s the best team I’ve seen in years.
The Zips will compete in the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament on Saturday as they take on the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes.
Akron defeated Tulsa in the second game of the season 1-0, but that was almost forever ago in soccer terms.
Tulsa is a good team and I have a lot of respect for Tom McIntosh, Porter said. They have been in the tournament consistently and that is a great testament to his leadership.
It will be a great soccer game. They like to play and attack. It was a tight match at their place in our second game of the year. We are a different team and they are a different team. It will be a great match.
The match Saturday vs. Tulsa is slated for 4 p.m. and is expected to be another sellout.