Embick’s entourage returns from vacation

Brad Ruhaak takes a shot

Kayla Brown

Brad Ruhaak takes a shot

Men’s soccer coach Jared Embick and his players have not been on a vacation, but after seemingly always playing three games in a span of seven or eight days, having eight days between games must feel like one.

The team takes on Northern Illinois this Saturday at FirstEnergy Stadium at Cub Cadet Field at 7 p.m. in a Mid-American Conference (MAC) contest.

The Zips (1-0 MAC, 9-2-1) opened up conference play with a 2-1 come-from-behind win last Friday, while the Huskies (1-0, 6-3) also enjoy an 8-day rest since losing to Milwaukee by a 2-1 score.

The Zips’ offense centers on Adam Najem (6 goals, 4 assists), Richie Laryea (6g, 3a), and Sam Gainford (5g, 4a). The fact that Najem is a junior and Laryea and Gainford are both sophomores, the future looks bright for Akron soccer.

Laryea was named the MAC Men’s Soccer Athlete of the Week on Monday, the second time this year he has earned the honor. He and Najem, also a two-time winner, have claimed four of the seven awards this season.

Goalkeeping has also been a key to the success of the team, Jake Fenlason has nine wins in 12 games with a 1.36 goals against per game average and has recorded four shutouts.

Akron and Northern Illinois have met 23 times in the past, with the Zips being victorious 19 times against three losses and one tie. The last loss by Akron was back in 2006 when the Huskies pulled out a 1-0 win at home.

The key to the series is scoring a goal, the three losses that Akron has taken when these two teams meet have all been by the same score, 1-0. Meanwhile the tie, which happened in 2007, was a double overtime thriller that ended scoreless.

After the Huskies, Michigan State comes to town on Wednesday to take on our beloved Zips here at FirstEnergy Stadium at Cub Cadet Field.