The shot to the MAC crown

By Tyler Novak, Sports Writer

The No. 1 seed and No. 22 ranked The University of Akron Men’s soccer team will host the 10th consecutive MAC Tournament. The Zips will face the No. 4 seed Broncos of Western Michigan in what will be a highly contested matchup.

Tournament Rundown

No. 1 AKRON:

Adam Najem has shined this season, accumulating a team high 11 goals and four assists. Freshman forward Stuart Holthusen has scored four goals this season along with three assists for 11 points which is second only to sophomore Najem. Jake Fenlason, Akron’s goalie, has shown to be unstoppable with seven shutouts and 68 saves, while only being scored on 14 times.

No. 4 WMU:

In the last game between the Broncos and Zips, WMU scored the lone goal in the 31 minute. The WMU victory is the Broncos’ third win  while the Zips hold a 32-3-2 advantage overall.

Players: Jason Grant has scored a total of three goals this year, including the game-winner against Akron and has a total of 11 goals throughout his collegiate career along with a career of nine assists. Nick Wysong is another threat for WMU as Wysong has scored four goals and four assists. Wysong is one of three players to have started all 18 games for the Broncos. Goalie Chase Rau has started in 12 games and has recorded three shutouts. Rau has saved 37 shots and has been scored on a tournament high of 18 times.

No. 2 West Virginia:

The last meeting of the Zips and the Mountaineers went to Akron by a close margin of 3-2. WVU was up 2-0 and Akron stormed back to tie the match at 2-2 before halftime. In the second half, Akron controlled the ball and limited the Mountaineers, winning the game.

Players: Andy Bevin is the star on this WVU squad. He has 12 goals and 8 assists in the 18 games the team has played. Jamie Merriam has eight goals and five assists. WVU goalie, Lee Johnson has started in nine games, has four shutouts and 29 saves this season.

No. 3 Bowling Green

Last time, Akron traveled to the Falcons pitch and left victorious with a score of 1-0. The lone score came early in the match from Adam Najem. The goalies on both sides played outstanding, stopping the other’s attack and saving six shots from being a goal in the match.

Players: BG’s Pat Flynn is a fast attacker and an even faster scorer with 13 goals in the season as well as three assists. Flynn also has a tournament high of six game-winning goals for the season.  Jacob Roth also leads the Falcons with eight assists and has three goals for the season. The goalie for the Falcons, Nick Landsberger, has been scored on 12 times while saving 36 scores and collecting three shutouts through the season. Look for BGSU to avenge their early season loss to WVU this season to earn a spot in the MAC finals.

The winner of this matchup with face the winner of No. 2 West Virginia vs. No. 3 Bowling Green who face off Friday at 4 p.m. at Cub Cadet Field before the Zips take on the Broncos at 7 p.m.