The UA Men's Soccer Insider

Akron Men's Soccer Finishes Spring Season with a Flourish

AKRON, OH - April 27, 2011 -  The University of Akron men's soccer team finished up its spring exhibition schedule on a good note, earning a 2-0 victory over visiting Valparaiso Wednesday night at Cub Cadet Field. 

UA, which scored a goal in each half, controlled the game from start to finish, out-shooting the Crusaders, 11-6 overall and 7-1 on frame. Scott Caldwell converted a penalty kick for the second consecutive contest and newcomer Luke Holmes found the net for the first time this spring late in the game to fuel Akron to the victory.

The Zips wasted little time jumping on Valpo after VU goal keeper Kyle Zobeck crashed into Darren Mattocks as he was attempting to line up a shot in the penalty area following a through ball from Holmes. Like he has done all spring, Caldwell made the Crusaders pay with his third successful PK in as many chances in the game's second minute.

Akron had another scoring opportunity in the 32nd minute when Ben Speas made a run down the left flank and fired a shot that deflected wide off the keeper to set up a the game's first corner kick. Caldwell's ensuing service left Eric Stevenson with a long-range shot from straight away but the defender's blast sailed high.

UA kept the pressure on and finished the half with a 7-2 advantage in shots, including a 4-0 edge on frame. Two chances in particular, near the end of the half were especially dangerous as Mattocks nearly found the Zips' second goal.

In the 43rd minute, the Jamaican striker found himself lined up with the keeper on the left flank and attempted to chip a shot over his head. But Zobeck, who finished with five stops on the night, used a fingertip save to pull the ball in. Then, in the final minute before the break, a pretty sequence of touch passes from Reinaldo Brenes to Caldwell to Mattocks set up another opportunity. Zobeck was up to the task once again however and kicked away Mattock's shot as UA took a 1-0 advantage into the locker room.

The Zips' persistence finally paid off in the 78th minute however when Mattocks and Holmes hooked up for Akron's second goal of the night.

Mattocks initiated the play with a run down the left side of the field and found Holmes, who had tucked into a vacant area eight yards in front of the net. In one motion, the 2010 NAIA National Player of the Year turned and fired a low liner into the back right corner to provide the game's final margin.

The game was played in a steady downpour of rain throughout the second half. These wet conditions contributed to some sloppy play and nearly cost the Zips their shutout in the closing minutes.

On an attacking series by the Crusaders, UA goal keeper David Meves slipped on the grass after making a play on a ball which left Valpo's Stipo Zeba with an open look at the net. Zeba's shot was deflected however when UA defender Chad Barson slipped into position to make the team save and keep UA's clean sheet intact.

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Men's Soccer Exhibition Ends in 2-2 Draw for Akron and Xavier

AKRON, OH - April 16, 2011 - Bookend goals by Will Walker helped Xavier University finish with a 2-2 draw against the University of Akron at Schrank Field. Darren Mattocks and Scott Caldwell both registered goals for the hometown Zips.

Photo Credit: Pam Moody/ISNSoccer.comThe match began with Xavier on the attack, taking two quick shots in the first two minutes. The second resulted in a goal by Will Walker, who shot from 15 yards out, the ball taking an awkward bounce off the right post and then the left before crossing the line.

Akron would respond by pushing forward and sending a battery of shots at Xavier goalkeeper Justin Marshall. The Zips would throw a ridiculous 10 shots, 6 of them on goal, at the Xavier D in the first 45 minutes of play. One of them did make it through in the 44th as Jamaican striker Darren Mattocks scored from a mass of players in front of the goal.

The sides would enter halftime knotted up at 1-1, but Akron led in most of the statistical categories. Shots (10), shots on goal (6), and corner kicks (4) all favored the home team with Xavier having an edge only in saves with 5.

There was a feeling that momentum shifted to the Zips entering the second half. This seemed to be the case as Akron was awarded a penalty kick in the 48th after Stow native Ben Speas was taken down in the box. Midfielder Scott Caldwell converted with a shot to his right, putting Akron up 2-0.

The home squad kept up the pressure in an exceedingly physical game that ended with a total of 20 fouls. Akron midfielder Thomas Schmitt sent a strike off the right post in the 62nd, giving the Musketeers quite a scare. The home fans thought they had the elusive third goal in the 85th when English midfielder Luke Holmes, formerly of Notre Dame College (OH), launched an absolute rocket off the crossbar. The ball struck with a thud and dropped down just inches from the line. Simply put it was very, very close.

"I came in and took a touch, tried to find the far corner, but got underneath it a little bit," Holmes stated. "It hit the bar and came out unfortunately."

The Zips still looked as if they were headed for victory until Will Walker broke away from the Akron D and took a masterful shot from 12 yards out in the 89th, a strike that made it past Akron keeper David Meves. The goal gave the visitors a 2-2 draw against the defending national champions, a result that didn't impress Akron Associate Head Coach Jared Embick.

"There were times when it looked like we were going to get the third and run away with it," Embick stated in postgame comments. "But we would have a letdown mentally. Obviously we are not happy with it at the end."

"You take seven guys out of the team, the team is going to take a while to get together," Embick continued. "But we're not patient guys so we would like it to see it come together quicker."

Akron will finish their spring schedule at home against Valparaiso on April 27th.

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Akron Men's Soccer Wraps Up Road Schedule on Positive Note

XENIA, OH - April 10, 2011 - The University of Akron men's soccer team went 1-0-2 in a trio of 45-minute exhibitions against Wright State, Notre Dame and Cincinnati at the Athletes in Action Showcase Sunday afternoon.

The Zips defended well in each contest, playing the Raiders and Fighting Irish to scoreless draws and earning a 1-0 decision over the Bearcats. In all, UA has now recorded six shutouts in eight games this spring.

"Overall, I thought today was a positive step in the right direction," said UA head coach Caleb Porter. "I'm happy our team defending was better in all three games and we didn't give up a goal. On the attacking side, we needed to do better with the chances we created. But we did create numerous quality opportunities and that's encouraging."

UA junior Scott Caldwell scored the game-winner against Cincinnati on a penalty kick.

"We were able to go undefeated and control the majority of the play today," Porter said. "Hopefully, our young group can build on this heading into our last two games. I know they are excited to finish with two home games and the opportunity to show our fans they are making progress and look primed for another very successful fall."

The Zips will wrap up their spring schedule at Cub Cadet Field, formerly Lee R. Jackson Soccer Field, against Xavier next Saturday at 2 p.m. and Valparaiso on Apr. 27.

University of Akron Men's Soccer Defeated by Maryland, 3-1, in Exhibition Match

AKRON, OH - April 2, 2011 - The University of Akron men's soccer team fell behind 2-0 in the first half and couldn't catch up in a 3-1 exhibition loss to visiting Maryland Saturday afternoon at Cub Cadet Field.

The Zips had opportunities, out-shooting the Terrapins, 10-7, but couldn't capitalize despite recording five shots on frame. Coincidentally, UA suffered a 3-1 defeat at Maryland during the spring season last year prior to their NCAA Championship campaign.

Darren Mattocks scored the lone goal for Akron in the 78th minute on a beautiful strike from 22 yards into the upper left-hand corner of the net. It was the third goal of the spring season for the Jamaican striker, who was one of the nation's top scorers last fall and is one of four returning starters this spring.

Maryland took a 1-0 lead in the 21st minute when John Stertzer found Patrick Mullins on the left flank. Mullins drew the Akron defender in then fired far post for the goal.

UA had a couple of chances to tie the game minutes later but was denied each time. In the first, Martin Ontiveros made an athletic play to save the ball from going over the Terrapin end line with a high arching volley back toward the box. With the keeper off the line, Mattocks redirected the ball with a header towards the right side of the net but a Maryland defender slid over to make the stop. It was one of three team saves for UM on the day.

Just two minutes later, Reinaldo Brenes drew a foul just outside the top right corner of penalty box to set up a free kick for Scott Caldwell. The midfielder bent a service towards the back post where Michael Balogun flicked it wide with a diving header. Conversely, the Terrapins made it 2-0 before the half thanks to a breakaway goal from Matt Oduran in the 41st minute.

Notre Dame College (OH) transfer Luke Holmes, who made his spring debut to start the second half for the Zips, nearly got a goal back for UA in the 52nd minute off a corner kick. Following a service from Caldwell, Holmes headed the ball from the middle of the penalty area towards the left post but once again a Maryland defender was there to bail out UM goalkeeper Will Swaim. 

John Stertzer added Maryland's third and final goal of the day with a long-range strike in the 66th minute. The Terrapins advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals in each of the last two seasons and won the national championship in 2005 and 2008.

The Zips (3-2) will next travel to the Athletes in Action Showcase in Xenia, Ohio, where they will face Wright State, Notre Dame and Cincinnati on Apr. 10 in abbreviated contests.

Akron Men's Soccer Earns 1-0 Victories Versus Michigan, Oakland

PONTIAC, MI - March 26, 2011 - The NCAA Champion University of Akron men's soccer team picked up a pair of 1-0 victories against Michigan and Oakland Saturday at the Michigan Bucks College Cup at the Ultimate Soccer Arenas Saturday.

Both exhibition games were 60 minutes long with two 30-minute halves. Scott Caldwell, who recorded a pair of assists in UA's win against Rayo Vallecano earlier this month, assisted both goals as the Zips improved their spring record to 3-1.

In the first game, which featured a re-match of last year's College Cup semifinal, the Zips jumped on top in the 54th minute on a restart goal. Caldwell sent a low driven free kick across the box that Chad Barson shot far-post to sink the Wolverines. Another restart goal proved to be the difference against the host Golden Grizzlies in game two. This time, Caldwell sent a free kick into the box where Loyola University Chicago transfer Kayvon Afsarifard headed it home in the 50th minute.

The Zips are off the another strong start this spring despite the loss of seven starters to the professional ranks from last year's national championship team. Additionally, returning midfielders Martin Ontiveros and Reinaldo Brenes, who are recovering from injuries, were both unavailable Saturday.

UA fans will get their first opportunity to see the new Zips in-person next Saturday when UA hosts 2008 NCAA Champion Maryland at 2 p.m.

Akron Starters vs. Michigan: GK David Meves, LB Kyle Culbertson, CB Matt Dagilis, CB Chad Barson, RB Eric Stevenson, DM Michael Balogun, LM Thomas Schmitt. AM Ben Speas, RM Scott Caldwell, F Darren Mattocks, F Diego Navarette (McKauly Tulloch 50')

Akron Starters vs. Oakland: GK David Meves (Anthony Ponikvar 30'), LB Kyle Culbertson (Gabriel Genovesi 30'), CB Matt Dagilis, CB Chad Barson, RB Kayvon Afsarifard, DM Scott Caldwell (Kyle Culbertson 30'), LM Thomas Schmitt (David Murrow 50'), AM Ben Speas (Scott Caldwell 30'), RM Eric Stevenson, F Darren Mattocks, F McKauly Tulloch (Diego Navarrete 30')

Akron Men's Soccer Falls Victim to Second-Half Penalty Kick

AKRON, OH - March 17, 2011 - The University of Akron men's soccer team went toe-to-toe with the B-team from one of the top soccer organizations in the world but ultimately fell in a 1-0 defeat to the Real Madrid reserves Thursday. The match was played at the Real Madrid first team academy/training grounds.

After playing to a scoreless tie at halftime, Real Madrid capitalized on a penalty kick in the 73rd minute. The crucial foul was called after a cross was served in from the left flank and UA defender Matt Dagilis stepped in front of a Real Madrid striker. Dagilis appeared to win the ball cleanly but the call went against the Zips and Real Madrid seized the opportunity to score the game's lone goal.

Akron responded with a few chances of its own but could not net the equalizer in falling to 1-1 on the spring after defeating the Rayo Vallacano reserves Tuesday.

Real Madrid is the most successful team in Spanish football and was voted by FIFA as the most successful football club of the 20th century, having won a record 31 La Liga titles, 17 Spanish "Copa del Rey" Cups, eight Spanish Super Cups, a record 9 UEFA Champions Leagues, 2 UEFA Cups, 1 UEFA Supercup, and 3 Intercontinental Cups.

Akron Starters (subs): GK David Meves, DEF Kyle Culbertson, DEF Matt Dagilis, DEF Chad Barson, DEF Eric Stevenson, MID Michael Balogun, MID Scott Caldwell, MID Thomas Schmitt (Ben Speas 45), MID Martin Ontiveros, FWD Darren Mattocks, FWD McKauly Tulloch (Diego Navarette 55)

Men's Soccer Claims 3-0 Victory Over Rayo Reserves

AKRON, OH - March 15, 2011 - Behind three second-half goals, The University of Akron men's soccer team powered to a 3-0 victory over the Rayo Vellacano reserves Tuesday in the first exhibition match of the Zips' Spain trip at Rayo Vallecano Complex. Rayo Vellecano is currently in first place in Spain's second division.

Darren Mattocks, who finished third in the nation with 18 goals in 2010, paced UA's attack with a pair of goals Tuesday while Scott Caldwell, who started at attacking mid, finished with two assists. Fellow Jamaican striker McKauly Tulloch chipped in with a goal and an assist.

After playing to a scoreless tie at the break, the Zips opened the scoring early in the second half when Caldwell stole the ball from a Rayo defender then played Mattocks in. Mattocks made Rayo pay by slipping the ball past the keeper to put UA up 1-0. Tulloch, who subbed in for incoming freshman Diego Navarette in the 63rd minute, finished Akron's next scoring opportunity when he slammed a shot back post following a feed from Caldwell.

Tulloch was involved in the third and final goal of the afternoon as well when he dribbled a defender in the box before unleashing a blast off the post. Mattocks was there to collect the deflection however and buried the rebound.

Akron Starters (subs): GK David Meves, DEF Kyle Culbertson, DEF Matt Dagilis, DEF Chad Barson, DEF Kayvon Afsarifard (Eric Stevenson 46), MID Michael Balogun, MID Martin Ontiveros, MID Eric Stevenson (Thomas Schmitt 46), MID Scott Caldwell, FWD Darren Mattocks, FWD Diego Navarette (McKauly Tulloch 63)

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