Zips gear up for Saint Louis

By: Chris Coon

This Saturday, the No. 4 University of Akron men’s soccer team will take on the Saint Louis Billikens of the Atlantic 10 Conference at Hermann Stadium in St. Louis, Mo.

For the Zips (2-0-1), this will mark their third straight road game in the past week and a half, while the Billikens (1-0-2) will play their second Mid-American Conference school of the season, the first being Northern Illinois Aug. 27.

The offense for UA is led by sophomore forward Darren Mattocks, who has a total of three goals and one assist. Junior midfielder Scott Caldwell is second on the team in scoring with two goals, while tied for the team lead in assists with two

Saint Louis is led offensively by freshman midfielder Jordan Lee, who has a total of two goals and one assist. Tied for second on the team in scoring are senior midfielder Alex Johnston and sophomore forward Adnan Gabeljic with one a piece.

Defensively, Akron has had a solid outing in their three matches, giving up only one goal, while allowing only 26 shots compared to Akron’s 60.

Junior goalkeeper David Meves, who is a three-year starter for the Zips, is posting a save percentage of .883 with five saves. As a whole, the Zips’ defense has posted two shutouts alongwith a goals against average of 0.29.

On defense, Saint Louis is currently posting a goals against average of 1.90 with zero shutouts. Junior goalkeeper Mark Pais has a total of nine saves with a save percentage of .643 and a goals against average of 2.29 in two matches.

As for the Billikens total offense, they have been outscored by their opponents 6-4 and out shot 54-22.

Saint Louis’s only win of this season came against No. 17 Notre Dame on Sept. 4 in a 2-1 double overtime win. The two losses that the Billikens suffered were against fellow MAC opponent Northern Illinois (2-1)and No. 10 Indiana (3-1).

The Zips are coming off of a 2-1 double overtime victory against Cal State Northridge, where Caldwell had the game-winning goal.

The Billikens are led by second-year Head Coach Mike McGinty after spending 11 seasons as an assistant at The University of Virginia. McGinty’s record in his first season in 2010 was 9-3-7.

As a program, Saint Louis has a total of 10 NCAA men’s soccer national championships, the most of any men’s college soccer program. However, the Billikens have not appeared in a national championship since 1974. Of their 10 titles, nine were earned outright except for their 1972 title, which was shared with The University of San Francisco.

With the tie against Cal State Fullerton, the Zips drop to No. 4 in the polls in the NCSAA and also both the Top Drawer Soccer and Soccer Times polls.

The Zips next home game will take place Sept. 16 when they take on New Mexico at 7 p.m. in The University of Akron Tournament. Friday’s game will also be broadcast nationally on the Fox Soccer Channel. UA will wrap the tournament up Sept. 18 at 6 p.m. against Cal Poly.