Sports Preview (11-10-16)

By Jake Allen, Sports Editor

Men’s Basketball

The University of Akron men’s basketball team will open its season on the road Saturday versus Youngstown State University, at the Beeghly Center in the 2nd Annual Coaches vs. Cancer Basketball Doubleheader.

The Coaches vs. Cancer event features coaches from four schools: Keith Dambrot of Akron, Cleveland State’s Gary Waters, Rob Senderoff of Kent, and Jerry Slocum of Youngstown State. These coaches have raised money through events in aid of cancer awareness and will continue to do so during a doubleheader this weekend.

First, Cleveland State will face off with Akron’s rival Kent State at 5 p.m., followed by the Zips playing the Penguins of Youngstown State at 7:45 p.m.

The event adds intrigue and excitement to the Zips season opener as the team looks to have another excellent season. Akron has not won less than 19 games since coach Dambrot took over in the 2004-2005 season, and they are one of just five teams to win at least 21 games in each of the past 11 seasons (Ohio State, Florida, Kansas, Gonzaga).

Center Isaiah Johnson and forward Kwan Cheatham are the two senior starters looking to lead the team. Junior guards Antino Jackson and Noah Robotham will also be very important, as will sophomore sensation Josh Williams.

One important factor for the Zips will be replacing wings Reggie McAdams and Jake Kretzer,  both of whom graduated last year. The team could use a rotation of sophomore Jimond Ivey, junior Aaron Jackson, and redshirt-freshman Daniel Utomi. You could also see all three guards (Robotham, Williams, and Antino Jackson) on the court at the same time.

The Zips return home next week for the home opener on Thursday, Nov. 17, when the team will host American University at 7 p.m. But first the Zips will need to take care of the Penguins at the Beeghly Center on Saturday. Tipoff is set for 7:45 p.m.

Women’s Basketball

The University of Akron women’s basketball team will open its regular season on Saturday at home versus Malone University at 2 p.m. The Zips are coming off an exhibition win over Walsh University, 81-70.

The biggest key for the Zips will be replacing the production lost from leading scorer Anita Brown, who graduated after four strong seasons with UA. Brown averaged 21.9 points per game last season for the Zips.

The leading candidate to take over scoring duties is senior Hannah Plybon (Orrville, Ohio). Plybon scored an impressive 16.3 points per game last season, while shooting 36.5 percent from beyond the 3-point arc. She also set a team-record with 104 3-pointers made.

6-foot-1 forward Greta Burry is coming off a season where she averaged 7.9 points and six rebounds per game. Those numbers should increase with more playing time. Alex Ricketts, Alli Ball, and Shaunay Edmonds are the other projected starters.

The Zips should have plenty of scoring off the bench as well. Sophomore Megan Sefcik (Austintown, Ohio) is an excellent 3-point shooter who provides immediate offense. Freshman Haliegh Reinoehl and Shayna Harmon should also get good playing time off the bench, along with senior Brittany Gordon.

The Zips have just one game to get prepared for a big game versus the Penn State Nittany Lions, which will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. in University Park, Pennsylvania.


The Zips volleyball squad will close out its season this weekend, with road trips to Oxford and Bowling Green, Ohio.

First, Akron will play Miami University on Friday at 7 p.m. The Zips enter with a record of 8-18 overall and 3-11 in the MAC. The Redhawks are an excellent 21-5 overall and sport a nearly perfect 13-1 record in the conference.

Then, on Saturday at 5 p.m. the Zips will head to Bowling Green to play the Falcons. Bowling Green has enjoyed a solid 18-9 regular season, while going 8-6 in the MAC.

These will be two important matches for the Zips, who have struggled against conference opponents this year. The Zips lost to Bowling Green and Miami earlier this year at home already, and each match ended 3-1. The Zips are 3-2 in their last five matches however, so look for an improved effort this weekend.