By: Chris Coon
The No. 7 University of Akron men’s soccer team defeated Bowling Green 3-0 last night for the Zips’ seventh consecutive regular season Mid-American Conference title.
With this MAC regular season championship win, Head Coach Caleb Porter has won six in a row while at Akron and will be on the hunt now for his fifth consecutive MAC Tournament Championship, which will open up play on Nov. 11.
At the end of the first half, the Zips (12-2-2, 5-0 MAC) out shot the Falcons 8-0 while recording two shots on goal. Overall, the Zips out shot Bowling Green (7-5-3, 1-1-1) 18-6 while recording nine shots on goal to BG’s two.
“I’m pleased for the guys to win the Conference regular season championship,” said Porter. “We clinched the No. 1 seed and credit to the guys, games in conference aren’t always easy.”
After a scoreless first half, the Zips got on the board first in the second, scoring in the 48th minute of play.
Sophomore forward Darren Mattocks recorded his 16th goal of the season after scoring off a deflection that was started by sophomore defender Zac Portillos. Both Portillos and junior midfielder Scott Caldwell were credited on the assist.
For Portillos, it was his first assist on the season, while Caldwell recorded his eighth.
“I liked how we started the second half; our mentality was good and we got the first goal,” Porter said. “What I didn’t like is after we got the goal we were lax. We went through a 15-minute loll where we lost a little bit of our grip on the game.”
The Zips added to their lead in the 73rd minute after Mattocks fed the ball to junior midfielder Thomas Schmitt for a give-and-go from 16 yards out on the lower left side of the goal. For Schmitt, it was his fourth goal of the season and Mattocks’ third assist of the year.
“Tommy’s thing is just consistency,” Porter said.” He’s as talented as anybody on our team. We didn’t start him today because we felt last game he wasn’t sharp and didn’t perform very well. I met with him to tell him that and I told him he needed to have a good attitude and when he got in the game he proved that he should be in there.”
Akron put the game out of reach in the 77th minute of play after Mattocks scored his second goal of the night and his 17th of the season from 14 yards out.
The play developed off a shot from sophomore defender Eric Stevenson from five yards out, where Mattocks received the rebound. It was Stevenson’s first assist of the season.
“First and foremost, I want to give the Lord a lot of thanks; He gives me the strength to go out there each and every game to score goals,” Mattocks said. “A lot of it is to just keep working hard, stay disciplined, staying sharp and focused and on edge as Caleb Porter says.”
This was the 51st meeting between the Zips and the Falcons. UA leads the all-time series 40-8-3 and has won its last 12 meetings against BGSU dating back to 2002.
The Zips are also 7-0 against Bowling Green under Porter all-time, while out-scoring the Falcons 29-3.
For junior goalkeeper David Meves, Wednesday’s game was his 10th shut out of the season, where he recorded two saves on the night. Bowling Green goalkeeper Miguel Rosales recorded a total of six saves for the match.
Mattocks has now scored a goal in 35 games out of the 40 games played in his career. Mattocks has also scored 17 goals in 15 games this season.
“I think the key with Darren is that he’s approaching every game the same way,” Porter said. “Even though he has 17 goals, he’s staying hungry and he has the right attitude. What I’ve liked about Darren the last two games is that he’s got five goals, but probably four of them are ones that wouldn’t be on SportsCenter. They’re just goals where he was alert and ready.”
With the win over Bowling Green, the Zips have now clinched their seventh consecutive MAC regular-season championship and the right to host the conference tournament.
Akron is 31-1-1 against the MAC during the regular season under Porter’s tenure, dating back to 2006.
With the win on Wednesday, the Zips have now been unbeaten in their last 36 conference matches, which is now tied as the fourth-longest in NCAA history with Appalachian State (1977-82).
During Wednesday’s game, Porter was presented the game ball for his 100th career win over Hartwick, 2-0, at home on Oct. 15. Porter became the fastest in Akron’s program history to reach the century mark.
“Wake is a very good team,” Porter said. “One of the best coaches in the country in Jay Vidovich. They play good soccer and they’re a lot better team than their record, based on what we’ve seen and heard. We’re not going to take them lightly.”
The Zips will return to action this Saturday when they take on Atlantic Coast Conference opponent Wake Forest at First Energy Stadium-Cub Cadet Field. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m.