Men’s soccer wins MAC championship

By Tyler Novak

On Saturday, the No. 9 ranked Akron Zips (14-3-1, 5-1-0 MAC) took on conference foe Western Michigan (8-8-1, 4-1-1 MAC) in a battle for the regular season Mid-American Conference championship.

For the ninth consecutive year, The University of Akron men’s soccer team claimed the championship. The title did not come easily. The Zips won 2-1 in double overtime.

Senior Robbie Derschang provided the Zips with the clinching goal, but not until the 105th minute. The score came off of freshman Adam Najem’s corner kick. It was Derschang’s fourth goal this season and his third game-winner.

The win is Akron’s fourth consecutive and moves their unbeaten streak to eight games.

The Zips dominated the pitch Saturday, with a lopsided 20-7 tally of shots on goal, with six of those shots coming in the overtime periods.

The possession was so uneven that Akron goalkeeper Fernando Piña only had to make one save, while WMU’s Chase Rau provided seven stops for the Broncos.

In the 36th minute, senior forward Reinaldo Brenes would knock in the first goal for the Zips. He received the ball from Najem, who once again had a strong match.

Brenes, coming off an injury, has been a huge boost to the Zips’ offense and continues to give an extra spark for the Zips heading into the MAC tournament.

The Zips led 1-0 at the half.

For the Broncos, everything began to fall apart in the 60th minute when Kyle Farris was issued a red card, forcing WMU to play a man down the remainder of the game.

A glimmer of hope would arise for WMU in the 80th minute, when Oliver Mayer’s header would tie the game 1-1. While the Zips dominated the pitch, the game would be forced into double overtime to decide the MAC champions.

The top-seeded Akron Zips will host the MAC tournament this Friday and Sunday.

The Zips will take on fourth-seeded West Virginia following the 4 p.m. match between second-seed Western Michigan and third-seed Hartwick. The MAC title match will take place Sunday at 1 p.m. The winner of the tournament will receive an automatic bid to the conference tournament. Akron will likely receive an at-large bid to the tournament if they fail. However, if they want to be selected as a high-seeded team, they must win out.