Bush will be remembered as best in UA history

“Evan Bush should be a hell of a poker player. The University of Akron goalkeeper has done his share of reading opponents non-verbal, eye-movements and, sometimes, simply going on a gut feeling. In soccer’s equivalent to a poker game, Bush has excelled in games that come down to penalty kicks, which happens only in tournament play after 110 minutes of deadlocked soccer.”

Evan Bush should be a hell of a poker player.

The University of Akron goalkeeper has done his share of reading opponents non-verbal, eye-movements and, sometimes, simply going on a gut feeling.

In soccer’s equivalent to a poker game, Bush has excelled in games that come down to penalty kicks, which happens only in tournament play after 110 minutes of deadlocked soccer.

Bush is 3-1 in games decided by penalty kicks in his career, with the only loss coming against Maryland in 2005, his freshman season, in the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals.

In the past three tournaments, 16 games have been decided by shootouts. There have already been three in the first round this season.

If we do go to penalty kicks, the team with the better goalkeeper has the better advantage, UA coach Caleb Porter said. If your shooters don’t miss, you’re going to win. It definitely could happen.

The Zips were involved in two shootouts in the 2005 tournament, in which they advanced to the national quarterfinals.

Bush made two saves during the penalty kick round of 16, which propelled the Zips further than any other Mid-American Conference team has ever gone in a national tournament, tying the 2002 Kent State and 1964 Ohio basketball teams.

The senior has been an especially integral part of the Zips success during his tenure between the pipes.

He is the MAC’s all-time leader in shutouts with 47 and wins with 61. He’s allowed only 51 goals in more than 7,500 minutes in goal over his career and is fifth in the country this season with .438 goals against average.

Bush is a three-time all-conference first team selection and was the MAC Newcomer of the Year after his freshman campaign.

After that season, however, Bush’s career at UA was briefly in limbo.

Ken Lolla, the Zips all-time winningest coach who recruited Bush, left to become the head coach at Louisville and Bush almost went with him.

Bush said Lolla asked if wanted to come with him, but decided to stay when Porter was named the new coach.

I wanted to see who they brought in to coach and when Caleb came in and I got to know him a little better, I knew I wasn’t going anywhere, Bush said.

Bush’s commitment never wavered and he bought into what Porter preached on his first day as the head coach at UA: That the Zips would eventually be a national powerhouse, consistently competing on the national level.

It didn’t happen overnight. The following season, UA lost in the MAC Tournament Final and didn’t receive an at-large bid to the NCAA’s. Bush never regretted the decision to stay.

Last season the Zips were stellar, but fell at the hands of South Florida in the second round of the national tourney.

Now, he’s reaping the benefits.

Akron received its highest ranking since the 2005 season when they rose to the No. 2 national ranking twice this season and he will be remembered as the greatest UA and MAC goalkeeper of all time.

And as far as his poker-playing ability.

I suck at poker. I just go all in.