Sports Recap

By Terry Rabbitts, Sports-editor@buchtelite.com

Men’s Golf

Ryan Harris and George Baylis lead The University of Akron men’s golf team with a pair of 3-under par 68 performances at the Outer Banks Intercollegiate hosted by Old Dominion University.

After the opening round, Akron is currently tied for second in the team competition with the host at 6-under par 278 while No. 83 Campbell leads the 18-team field with a 267 (-17) team total. Also in the field is No. 55 James Madison University, which is tied for seventh after shooting a team total of 290.

With their rounds, both Harris and Baylis are tied for seventh overall, five strokes behind the leader. Yann Pfeiffer is 15th best after shooting a 70 (-1), highlighted with four birdies; and junior J.B. Williams added a 1-over 72 effort and tied for 30th. Rounding out the team scoring was redshirt freshman Elliott Grayson with a 73 (+2) performance.

“We played well today,” head coach David Trainor said. “I am very happy with our effort, the guys played smart and confident. Would have loved to see a few more putts fall.”

The second and third rounds of the tournament are held Monday and Tuesday. Information about Monday’s round was not available before press time.

Women’s Volleyball

The Zips women’s volleyball team looked strong early but wound up falling in four sets to Central Michigan University (17-25, 25-17, 12-25, 22-25) on Friday.

Akron was led on the offensive end by Anna Wenger with 13 kills and Amanda Bedell with 10 kills. Patience Brown and Kelsey Wilson also chipped in five kills apiece.

On the defensive side, Brenna Mack paced the Zips with 10 digs while Wilson also added one block solo and four block-assists. Karley Kusan kept the offense running smoothly with 32 assists in the effort.

The Zips rebounded the next day to defeat Eastern Michigan, 25-20, 20-25, 25-19, 25-21, to finally break their eight match losing streak.

Wenger’s 16 career-high kills and Wilson’s 12 kills paced Akron (8-15, 2-8 MAC). Bedell also chipped in 13 kills while Julia Smagacz added seven. Karley Kusan ran the offense after matching a career-high 54 assists.

Crucial to the victory was the defense played by the Zips, as three players finished with double-digit digs led by Brenna Mack with 22. Dragana Micic contributed 14 digs while Callie Mack picked up 10 of her own against the Eagles (12-11, 4-6).

“I’m excited for our team to breakthrough the way we did,” head coach Tom Hanna said. “It was a gritty performance that included solid serve and pass along with good defense and transition offense.”

The Zips will return home on Thursday against Buffalo. First serve is set for 7 p.m. at James A. Rhodes Arena. Akron defeated the Bulls in a four set victory earlier this season.

Women’s Soccer

The University of Akron women’s soccer team held strong defensively against Ball State University, the top team in the Mid-American Conference, before falling 1-0 on Friday afternoon.

The Zips were held without a shot for the game while the Cardinals (12-3-2, 8-1 MAC) had 22 shots, including ten on goal.

Annabelle Hegeman made ten saves for the Zips in goal, including an outstanding stop at the 9:04 mark to keep the game scoreless at that point.

After the Cardinals took a 1-0 lead, Katie George had a shot on goal that found its way in but was called off by the referee for impeding the goalkeeper who had possession of the ball.

“We lost to a very good team today, but we made them work hard for it, that’s for sure,” head coach Noreen Herlihy said.

On Sunday, the team traveled to Miami of Ohio and fell to the Redhawks 3-0. Miami (10-6-1, 6-3-1) scored a goal in the first half and two in the second to take this contest.

The Zips (6-11-1, 3-7) were led by Katie George, Holly Ohradzansky, Sarah Sivic, and Kiana Zuk with two shots each. As a team the Zips had 13 shots.

Akron is back in action on Thursday for an afternoon affair for their final regular season game of the year against Buffalo at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field at 3 p.m. With a win the Zips would secure a spot in the MAC tournament for the first time since 2011.

“The players have been determined all season to make postseason, and they have shown great courage in not giving up on that and there is no doubt in my mind that they will go for it to the very last whistle on Thursday,” Herlihy said.

Women’s Tennis

The University of Akron women’s tennis team enjoyed a good showing this past weekend. Sophia Geier and Ariadna Blinova both advanced to play in the singles main draw at the USTA/ITA Midwest Regional Championships after defeating their opponents in the finals of the qualifying singles draw on Friday at the University of Michigan’s Varsity Tennis Center.

“I am excited to see Ari and Sophia advance to the main draw,” head coach Brandon Padgett said. “Both played excellent tennis today, and it is great to see their efforts rewarded.”

Geier defeated Western Michigan’s Katja Fevralev 6-4, 6-3, while Blinova squeezed by Andrea Martinovska from Eastern Michigan in a close 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (5) decision.

Saturday was a tough day for the advancing pair as Geier fell 6-2, 6-4 to DePaul’s Rebeca Mitea and Ariadna Blinova, who lost 7-5, 6-3 to Northwestern University’s Lee Or.

“I could not be more proud of the effort displayed today by Ariadna and Sophia,” Akron head coach Brandon Padgett said. “They both fought hard and played at an extremely high level, against elite competition. Now we will begin our off-season training, continuing to get faster and stronger, as we head towards the spring season.”

The spring season will begin on Jan. 15 at Pittsburgh.