By: Chris Coon
It was a night of dominance as the No. 4 University of Akron Zips men’s soccer team defeated Ohio State 3-1 before a record crowd of 5, 819 Wednesday night at First Energy Stadium-Cub Cadet Field.
“It was a very dominating performance overall and I thought we had the ball most of the game. We did a nice job of putting nice sequences of build up, where we created chances,” UA men’s soccer Head Coach Caleb Porter said. “The biggest thing we just got to do is be to more ruthless in the final third in putting our chances away and if we do that we will get to the second a lot sooner and maybe the third, and then we’re not in a situation where it gets scary like it did in the second half.”
The Zips struck first in the game after freshman defender DeAndre Yedlin scored his first collegiate goal unassisted in the 21st minute. Yedlin pushed the ball down the right side of the field, cutting in among three Ohio State defenders and shooting the ball off the inside of the right goal post. The ball then rolled past junior goalkeeper Matt Lampson, who was outstretched, then deflected off the left post and into the net for a 1-0 score.
“I got the ball and ran out the guy, and I saw that there were three guys there so I was kind of questioning myself if whether I should go or not,” said Yedlin. “Luckily, I beat them inside and down the line. I tried to cross it in but I got a good deflection and it went in.”
At the half, Akron led Ohio State in shots (8-2) and shots on goal (4-0), dominating possession. Overall, the Zips had a 15-5 shot advantage and a 7-2 advantage on goal to end the game.
Before entering last night’s game, Ohio State (5-3-1) was coming off a 3-2 conference opening victory over rival Michigan last weekend. The win by the Buckeyes snapped a two-game losing streak.
Ohio State threatened in the second half most notably when forward Parnell Hegngi shot the ball, but a perfectly placed Yedlin was there at the line to block the shot for a Zips team save.
Junior midfielder Thomas Schmitt scored his first goal of the season in the 68th minute off a senior midfielder Luke Holmes blocked shot. Holmes had an open look in the box but his shot was blocked, resulting in a deflection which Schmitt was able to sink in for 2-0 score.
The Buckeyes, however, were able to get on the board in the 72nd minute after junior midfielder Sebastian Rivas sank the ball directly into the net, making the score 2-1.
UA responded in the 80th minute after freshman midfielder Will Trapp fed a pass across midfield to Holmes, who created space for himself, firing the ball into the net for his first goal as a Zip and putting the score at 3-1
“I’ve had this day marked off on my calendar for months now, so it was so real when it came,” said Holmes who had to sit out the first seven games of the season due to NCAA transfer rules.
Holmes, who played his first three years of college soccer at NAIA school Notre Dame College, had an astounding 70 goals during his stay while leading his team to a 23-0-1 record and the 2010 NAIA National Championship game.
Defensively, the Zips have held their opponents to one or fewer goals in every match this fall and rank fourth in the NCAA with a 0.26 team goals-against average.
This was the Buckeyes’ second nationally ranked opponent, the first coming against No. 5 Louisville in a 1-0 loss on Sept. 21 in Columbus.
This is the 34th time the Zips have faced the Buckeyes, posting a record of 25-6-7 in the all-time series.
UA has been defeated just once during regular season play in its last 58 matches dating back to the start of the 2009 season and is 11-0-1 against the Big Ten in the last two seasons under Porter.
“I was pleased with the performance, thought we defended overall very well outside of the one chance where they (Ohio State) got behind us, but I thought we controlled the game,” said Porter, who won his 96th game of his coaching career in six years at Akron.
Akron will return to the pitch this Saturday when they open up Mid-American Conference play to take on the Broncos at Western Michigan. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.
The Zips will return home on Oct. 5 to take on No. 18 Northern Illinois at First Energy Stadium-Cub Cadet Field. Akron will kick the game off at 7:30 p.m.