“For the first time all year, the fifth-ranked University of Akron men’s soccer team found themselves trailing an opponent. They would not stay trailing for long. The Zips defeated Cincinnati 2-1 to claim the University of Akron Tournament title, held last weekend at Lee Jackson Field.””
For the first time all year, the fifth-ranked University of Akron men’s soccer team found themselves trailing an opponent.
They would not stay trailing for long.
The Zips defeated Cincinnati 2-1 to claim the University of Akron Tournament title, held last weekend at Lee Jackson Field.
Akron’s record improved to 3-0-1 after yet another impressive showing.
The Bearcat’s had UA on its collective heels after a Branden Stelmak rebound shot that put Cincinnati up 1-0, early in the first half.
The lead would be short-lived, as freshman Matt Daglis would score his first career goal around the 22 minute mark.
Daglis’ goal was set up by outstanding ball movement from teammates Ben Zemanski and Steve Zakuani.
It was like a dream come true, Daglis, an Akron native, said about his first career goal.
Zakuani, who was credited with the assist on the first goal, would do some scoring of his own.
With a little more than six minutes remaining, the Hermann Trophy candidate would simply outrun and outmaneuver the Bearcat defense en route to his third goal of the season.
Despite falling behind, UA coach Caleb Porter seemed pleased with his team’s overall performance and thinks that the Zips come-from-behind win will help his team in the future.
You don’t want to play from behind, but this kind of win will make us better in the long run, said the third-year head coach.
Porter also seemed to be happy with how his team handled a difficult opponent such as Cincinnati.
I have to give our guys credit for coming from behind and stepping up to the challenge, he said.We knew that Cincinnati was a tough opponent.
The Zips not only claimed the tournament title, but would have four players: Steve Zakuani, Matt Daglis, Evan Bush, and Kofie Sarkodie named to the All-Tournament team.
The Zips claimed all three individual awards as well. Steve Zakuani was named offensive M.V.P. The sophomore forward was more than instrumental in Akron’s success, posting a goal in both games of the tournament. Freshman sensation Kofie Sarkodie was named defensive M.V.P. after excelling on a backline that would only allow one goal the entire tournament. To make it a clean sweep, freshman Darlington Nagbe would take home the tournament’s sportsmanship award.
Akron will head to Albuquerque, New Mexico, for the Nike Invitational this weekend where they will face tournament host New Mexico as well as Missouri State.
Another tournament victory would give the Zips their third title in as many tries this season.
The Zips first test of the tournament was perennial Big East power West Virginia. A record crowd of 1,936 saw UA come away with a 1-0 victory to advance to the finals.
Akron’s lone goal would come from Zakuani early in the first half.
Fortunately, that was all the Zips would need as senior goalkeeper Bush added to his own school record, recording his 38th career shutout for the Zips.
Even though Bush received credit for the shutout, Porter said the stingy defense, namely Kofie Sarkodie, deserved just as much praise.
Kofie was tremendous for us tonight, Porter said of the freshman.
Sarkodie was instrumental in allowing the Mountaineers only 2 shots on goal in the first half.
Despite the shutout, Porter felt his team did not perform to their full potential.
We didn’t play as well as we are capable of, Porter said. We need more of a killer instinct.
The killer instinct Porter spoke of was more than evident in the Zips victory in the finals over Cincinnati two days later.