“The men’s soccer team finished the regular season with a perfect record (18-0-0) after a 3-2 win over MAC opponent Hartwick Saturday night at Lee Jackson Field. After trailing at half time for the first time this season by a score of 2-1, the Zips were able to score two unanswered goals to win the game.””
The men’s soccer team finished the regular season with a perfect record (18-0-0) after a 3-2 win over MAC opponent Hartwick Saturday night at Lee Jackson Field.
After trailing at half time for the first time this season by a score of 2-1, the Zips were able to score two unanswered goals to win the game.
In typical fashion as of late for the Zips, the team jumped out on top early.
In the seventh minute of the game midfielder Anthony Ampaipitakwong found the net on a free kick that bent into the net from 22 yards out.
The tough attack of Hartwick evened the game in the 31st minute when defender Nick Pratico scored the equalizer off of a throw in. Pratico headed the ball in from 15 yards out.
Hartwick went on top 2-1 when midfielder Michael Cunningham struck from 18 yards out into the back of the net.
Hartwick was the first team all season to lead the Zips this year as they headed into halftime with a one goal lead.
Although Akron was behind, they still managed to lead in shots at 8-3.
We came out flying and were playing very well, then they caught us, head coach Caleb Porter said. But I give a lot of credit to Hartwick. They had a couple of great plays and had us on our heels a bit at halftime.
That being said, there was no doubt in our minds that we would win this game. I could just see in our player’s eyes that they were excited for the second half and a chance to make amends.
The Zips came out in the second half with determination to win the game.
Ball control was in the Zips attacking third for most of the half.
In the 72nd minute of the game, defender Chris Korb struck from 35 yards out and the ball slid through Hartwick defenders and into the net.
The Zips gained an advantage in the 78th minute when Michael Cunningham of Hartwick was red carded following a hard slide tackle on Ampaipitakwong.
With an advantage of players at 11-10, it was just a matter of time before Akron found the net once more.
Roughly six minutes after the red card, Ampaipitakwong found the net from 13 yards out after a heel flick from midfielder Blair Gavin.
The goal would prove to be all the Zips needed to win the game and complete the perfect regular season.
The second half was tremendous, Porter said. I was pleased to see everybody’s energy and belief because it’s not easy to break down mass numbers. Hartwick was very organized and sat deep, but you could just feel it coming.
Akron finished the game with an advantage on shots at 23-6, as well as corner kicks at 9-1.
In some ways, deep down I was hoping something like this would happen where we get down and have to come from behind, Porter said. To go through that adversity, overcome it and come out with the victory is something that we will learn from and use in the postseason. To think that we’ll never be behind for the entire year is unrealistic. Now we know that if it does happen, we can respond and we will respond.
The game against Hartwick was also senior night as the team honored its four seniors in midfielder Ben Zemanski, defender Ivan Sandoval, midfielder C.J. Kaufman and forward Stefan Ostergren.
They’re incedible, Porter said. A few of them don’t play a whole lot, but I’ll tell you what, they help just as much in training and leadership, and they are just as much a part of this team as anybody.
The Zips next game will be round one of the MAC tournament Friday against Northern Illinois, who the Zips beat earlier in the season 1-0.
Game time for that match is 6 p.m. at Lee Jackson Field.