The University of Akron men’s soccer team will host the MAC Tournament this weekend, starting Friday.
First, at 4 p.m., Buffalo and Bowling Green will face off as the second and third seeds. Akron will then host Western Michigan for the second consecutive game, starting at 7 p.m. The winners will play each other for the Championship on Sunday, and the time for that match has yet to be determined.
The Zips will get a rematch with the Broncos on Friday after they beat them last Saturday, 3-0. Stuart Holthusen scored twice in the match while Ezana Kahsay added his third goal of the season. Jonathan Lewis tallied two assists in the match and goalkeeper Ben Lundt made one save.
If the Zips win, they will move on to play either Bowling Green or Buffalo. Akron hammered Buffalo 4-0 on Oct. 7, and tied the Falcons 2-2 on Oct. 29.
The home pitch will be a key factor for the Zips this weekend. While they are just 3-4-2 in road contests this season, they sport a phenominal 7-1-1 record at FirstEnergy Stadium-Cub Cadet Field.
The Zips’ best player coming into the season was undoubtedly senior Adam Najem, but he has really struggled of late. The midfielder hasn’t scored since the Buffalo game on Oct. 7, and he has just two assists in the eight games since. If he can get back to his old form, it will be very difficult to stop the Zips offense.
Akron does have a balanced attack with six players having scored at least three goals this year, and nine having scored at least two. Stuart Holthusen has been excellent of late, scoring six goals in just eight games, while senior captain Brad Ruhaak has provided offense from the back end with four goals and three assists.
Sophomore goalkeeper Ben Lundt has also been good this season, replacing graduated goalkeeper Jake Fenlason, who was selected in the first round of the MLS draft by Orlando. Lundt has a record of 10-5-3, with a 1.22 goals-against average and .697 save percentage.
The Zips are primed for another run to the College Cup after last season’s finish in the National Semifinals. It all starts this weekend as the Zips try to win the Mid-American Conference championship to gain an automatic bid into the tournament. The College Cup begins Nov. 17, and the Zips hope to be there.