Zips move on to sweet 16 after win over South Florida

“The University of Akron’s men’s soccer team defeated South Florida on Sunday 2-0, moving them into the sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament. A pair of goals from midfielder Anthony Ampaipitakwong proved to be all that was needed to defeat the South Florida team that knocked Akron out of the NCAA tournament in 2007.”

The University of Akron’s men’s soccer team defeated South Florida on Sunday 2-0, moving them into the sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament.

A pair of goals from midfielder Anthony Ampaipitakwong proved to be all that was needed to defeat the South Florida team that knocked Akron out of the NCAA tournament in 2007.

I think it is good to get that first NCAA tournament game out of the way, UA head coach Caleb Porter said. I told the guys after the game that over the years the first round has been one of the more difficult games because of the feelings and excitement that come with playing in the NCAA tournament.

In typical fashion for the Zips, the team jumped out on top early.

In the 25th minute of the game, Ampaipitakwong took a free kick from 23 yards out.

Ampaipitakwong showed why he was chosen to the Hermann trophy watch list at the beginning of the year as he placed the ball out of the reach of the goalkeeper and wrapped it just around the left post.

Eight minutes later Ampaipitakwong found the net again as the South Florida defense gave him enough space to launch a shot that froze the keeper.

The shot was from 22 yards out and the ball found its home in the top right corner of the net.

The first goal I saw the goalie cheating to the left a little bit and I was able to get the ball around him for a score, Ampaipitakwong said. On the second goal, I got a break away and South Florida didn’t press me at all. I was able to get a wide open shot and I took it. Sometimes the ball just goes into the net.

Porter has commented in previous games that goals are not just coming from one person this year, and it seems that in every game, someone else is scoring.

In the South Florida match, Ampaipitakwong was that player.

Anthony is just a big game player and always seems to turn up his play a notch in the biggest games, Porter said. His goal on the free kick was tremendous. He was able to get the goalie leaning to his left; Anthony went against the grain and whipped the ball into the back of the net. That was just a special play.

Special players make those types of plays to win games, especially in the NCAA tournament. His second goal was fitting, especially now that he is finally healthy after being injured for the first two years of his career.

The second round win was not just an offensive attack, but a team effort all around.

The one thing that I will take away from this game is the total team effort that our team plays with, Porter said. It seems as though it is always different guys scoring goals and stepping up. I feel good about the fact that this team will find ways to win using different players at different times.

The Zips defense, which tallied its 15th shutout in 21 games this season, was a major factor in ball control and overall pressure on the game.

I felt as though we defended well, Porter said. Coming into the game we wanted to disrupt their rhythm with pressure. I thought we were able to stop a very explosive, attacking team. South Florida likes to keep possession of the ball and control the game, but we were able to prevent them from doing that tonight.

Defensively, the Zips held South Florida to only one shot in the entire game, which came in the first half.

Offensively, Akron tallied seven shots in each half, totaling 14 for the game.

Obviously Akron is a very good team, South Florida head coach George Kiefer said. I thought they played very well tonight and I give them credit for a good win.

Akron will continue its journey for a national championship when the team takes the field again on Sunday against Stanford who defeated UC Irvine 1-0 in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Game time is set for 4 p.m. at Lee Jackson Field.