The UA Women's Soccer Insider

Akron Women Humbled by William & Mary

KNOXVILLE, TNAugust 26, 2012 - Three first half goals by the No. 37 William & Mary women's soccer team propelled the Tribe to a 4-0 win over Akron Sunday afternoon at Regal Soccer Stadium at the First Tennessee Lady Vol Classic.

The Zips fall to 2-1-0 with the loss, while William & Mary, a 2011 NCAA Tournament participant, moves to 1-2-0. The Tribe is ranked eighth in this week's NSCAA Mid-Atlantic Region poll and No. 37 nationally in the latest Top Drawer Soccer Tournament 64 rankings.

"It was an unfortunate result," said Akron interim head coach Vernon Croft. "William & Mary is certainly a team that is deserving of their ranking. They have been an NCAA Tournament team for the past few years and they showed why today. We can't expect to give up goals that quickly and come back. With that said, this was a great learning experience for us. As we told the team, it's better that this happened early in the season and that we learn from it. I think our mentality will stay the same – that we'll continue to grow and mature."

William & Mary came out of the gate with chances in the first few minutes as Dani Rutter forced a save from UA freshman goalkeeper Klaire Adee in the fourth minute and Mallory Schaffer hit the crossbar in the sixth.

Akron's first shot came at 12:33 when junior midfielder Kelly DeNiro sent one wide. The Tribe scored the game's opener at 14:39 when Cortlyn Bristol headed home a cross from Kiersten Harpe.

At 20:27, Bristol found Schaffer, who made the W&M lead 2-0 when she scored on a header of her own. In the 30th minute, the Zips caught a tough break when Bristol's shot deflected off an Akron defender and went it to the net to make the score 3-0 heading into halftime.

In the second half, redshirt freshman Lexa Green fired Akron's first shot on goal in the 69th minute and forced a save from William & Mary goalkeeper Carla Manger. Senior midfielder Katie Wise also placed a shot on frame in the 79th.

W&M would round out the scoring at 82:22 when Audrey Barry headed in a corner kick from Erin Liberatore. Senior forward Ashley Hughes and junior defender Amber Kern also had attempts on goal for the Zips in the final seven minutes, while Kern also hit the bar on another effort.

Akron forced William & Mary into five saves in the second half on their seven shots.

In goal, Adee made two saves while playing the first 33 minutes. Redshirt sophomore Alex Luevano-Harden was credited with three saves over the final 57 minutes.

The Zips will be back in action next Sunday, Sept. 2 at Big Ten foe Michigan State in East Lansing, Michigan. Kickoff is set for 12 noon.

VCU Falls to Akron at Lady Vol Classic

KNOXVILLE, TN - August 24, 2012 - Freshman midfielder Hannah Werth scored the game-winning goal in the 85th minute as the Akron women's soccer team rallied from an early deficit to defeat Virginia Commonwealth, 2-1, Friday evening at Regal Soccer Stadium in the opening game of the First Tennessee Lady Vol Classic.

With the win, the Zips improve to 2-0-0, while VCU falls to 1-1-1 with its loss. The win marks the first time UA has started the season with two straight wins since the 2009 campaign.

"I think it was a good win for us," said Akron interim head coach Vernon Croft. "For us to go down, come back and get the win - that says a lot about the maturity and growth of this team. That's a good VCU team that will contend in their conference this year. Our players were committed to doing what they do well and that is why we earned the result tonight."

UA started the game on the attack by drawing two corner kicks in the first seven minutes, while sophomore midfielder Brianna Kanz and junior defender Amber Kern each had shots blocked by the Ram defense.

After VCU fired three shots off target, Cristin Granados put one on frame and followed up the ensuing rebound at 18:23 to put VCU ahead, 1-0.

VCU kept the pressure on and forced saves from Zips freshman goalkeeper Klaire Adee in the 26th and 28th minutes.

However, the Zips equalized at 36:17 when senior forward Ashley Hughes was in on a breakaway down the center of the park and tucked the ball away to the goalkeeper's right. The goal was Hughes' first of the season. Freshman forward Megan Waskowski supplied the assist – her first of two on the night.

Just three minutes before halftime, VCU's Aisha Allen hit the crossbar, but Adee was there to turn away the second shot by Jessie Krasko to keep the match level going into the half.

The Zips opened the second half with two corners in the first five minutes. VCU's Breiana White put a header on target in the 61st minute, but it was saved by Adee. Waskowski put UA's second shot on frame with a driven strike in the 65th.

Then with just over five minutes remaining, three freshmen combined for the winner as Werth netted her first collegiate goal to give the Zips the lead at 2-1. Waskowski was again involved in the build-up as she found classmate Katie George who passed to Werth for the shot, which went in the top right corner off the crossbar. Both Waskowski and George were credited with assists. Waskowski leads Akron with three assists in her first two collegiate games.

In goal, Adee made seven saves while playing all 90 minutes.

For the match, VCU held the advantage in shots at 15-7, while Akron had the edge in corners, 5-4.

The Zips will be back in action Sunday at the Lady Vol Classic against 2011 NCAA Tournament team William & Mary. Kickoff is set for 12:30 p.m.

Akron Women's Soccer Wins Season Opener

AKRON, OHAugust 17, 2012 - The Akron women's soccer team scored three first half goals as the Zips defeated Morehead State, 3-2, in their season opener Friday night at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field. Freshman forward Megan Waskowski, redshirt freshman midfielder Lexa Green and sophomore defender Hailey Kirkwood all scored their first career goal for Akron, and Waskowski also added an assist on Green's goal.

After both teams settled into the match in the first 15 minutes, Waskowski scored on the first shot of the game for Akron. Junior defender Amber Kern slotted a ball from the right side of the top of the box through to Waskowski who collected the pass and calmly finished with a low shot from six yards out at 16:08.

Morehead State would equalize at 22:13 as Elizabeth McSparin's corner was headed by a Zip defender to the far post, where Macy Cobb capitalized for the Eagles with a header of her own.

Just six minutes later in the 29th minute, Akron regained the lead when Waskowski beat Morehead State goalkeeper Hannah Seeman to a loose ball at the top of the box and touched the ball to Green who got by Seeman and was in all alone for an easy finish.

The Zips would increase their lead to 3-1 at 42:45 on a goal similar to their first. This time, senior forward Ashley Hughes placed a perfectly weighted ball through into the box to Kirkwood who slotted home the finish.

Akron was clinical on its finishing in the first half as they scored three goals on just five shots.

Early in the second half, the Eagles' Kimberly Golden was able to cut the Zip lead to 3-2 as she headed home a bouncing ball in the box at 52:13. Holley Tilley was credited with assist.

Akron's Kern had a good strike from the outside in the 76th minute, but Seeman was able to parry the ball over the bar. Over the final 15 minutes, the Zips were able to maintain a good amount of possession to hold off Morehead State and earn the season-opening win.

In goal for the Zips, freshman Klaire Adee played all 90 minutes and was credited with one save.

For the match, the Zips held a 9-5 advantage in shots, while Morehead State had six corners to Akron's four.

The Zips will be back in action next weekend as they travel to Knoxville, Tenn. for a pair of games at the Tennessee Lady Vol Classic. Akron plays VCU on Friday, Aug. 24 at 5:30 p.m. and William & Mary on Sunday, Aug. 26 at 12:30 p.m.

Akron Falls to No. 20 West Virginia, 4-1, in Women's Soccer Exhibition

MORGANTOWN, WV - August 10, 2012 - West Virginia scored two goals in each half as the No. 20 Mountaineers defeated Akron, 4-1, in a women's soccer exhibition match Friday night at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium. Junior midfielder Kelly DeNiro found the back of the net for the Zips in the 71st minute.

"It was a game of two halves," said Zips interim head coach Vernon Croft. "We played a decent first half, but in the second half, we played better for much longer periods. I thought at times we were the better side and took it to West Virginia in the second half. I'm super proud of our players and how they fought back and performed after halftime."

The Mountaineers, who are ranked No. 20 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) preseason poll, got on the board first at 22:39 when Kelsie Maloney scored via a pass from Kate Schwindel. Just before the half hour mark, WVU increased its advantage to 2-0 when Frances Silva scored unassisted from 16 yards out.

West Virginia held a 7-3 advantage in shots in the first 45 minutes.

In the second half, the Zips came out strong and cut the Mountaineer lead in half at 70:39. Redshirt freshman midfielder Lexa Green combined with sophomore midfielder Brianna Kanz, who then found DeNiro. DeNiro's strike beat West Virginia goalkeeper Caitlin Hulyo inside the right post from the top of the box.

Four minutes later, West Virginia's Jess Crowder capitalized on a deflected ball in front of the goal to make the score 3-1. Crowder again found the back of the net on a header at 76:34 on a cross from Annalika Steyn for the match's final goal.

"Kelly DeNiro scored a fantastic goal in a three-person combination with Lexa Green and Brianna Kanz, said Croft. "I felt like we grew as a team tonight and I'm excited to see where we go from here."

Shots ended 13-8 in favor of West Virginia, while the Mountaineers had two corners to one for Akron.

Freshman forward Megan Waskowski, junior midfielder Maggie Rusnak and DeNiro all had two shots for the Akron offense. Waskowski placed both her efforts on frame and Green also had a shot on goal for the Zips.

In goal, redshirt sophomore Alex Luevano-Harden started and played the first half, while making two saves. Freshman Klaire Adee played the second 45 and was credited with one save.

Akron's first regular-season match is Friday, Aug. 17 at 5 p.m. against Morehead State at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field.

Fans can purchase tickets online anytime at ZipsTickets.com, or from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET on Mondays through Fridays by either calling 888-99-AKRON (25766) or visiting The C.P. and Cornelia S. Chima Athletics Ticket Office at InfoCision Stadium – Summa Field (located at 375 E. Exchange Street, near Gate 1 at the southwest corner of the venue, at the corner of E. Exchange and S. Union streets).

Single-game tickets start at $6 for General Admission, while the Single-Game Family Plan is $20 (General Admission seating). Season tickets are $40. UA students with valid ID will be admitted free of charge.

Akron finished last season with a record of 7-9-2 overall and 4-5-2 in the Mid-American Conference. The Zips, who return seven starters and 20 letter winners, are 11-3-1 in MAC East play since 2009 and have qualified for the last three MAC Tournaments.

Duquesne Defeats Akron, 1-0, in Women's Soccer Exhibition

AKRON, OH - August 5, 2012 - An unassisted goal in the 10th minute by Duquesne's Paige Maroney stood up as the Dukes defeated Akron, 1-0, in a women's soccer exhibition match Sunday afternoon at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field.

Although the match doesn't officially count towards UA's record, it was a good opportunity for Zips interim head coach Vernon Croft to see where his side stands with the preseason not a quite a week old.

Play opened up in the first half with both teams having similar runs in possession. Akron drew the match's first corner in the seventh minute, but on the first shot of the game for either team, Duquesne's Maroney found the back of the net at the 9:26 mark. Maroney's goal came after she controlled a loose ball at the top of the 18-yard box, just to the right of center. Her bending shot beat Akron starting goalkeeper Alex Luevano-Harden to the far post and give the Dukes a lead they would not relinquish.

Akron junior defender Amber Kern was credited with the Zips first shot in the 17th minute and just two minutes later, freshman forward Megan Waskowski had a low drive on frame but it was right at Duquesne starting goalkeeper Ashley Szalwinski. Waskowski would later combine with junior midfielder Kelly DeNiro in the final third in the 26th minute, but DeNiro's right footed effort sailed wide of the near post. In the 30th minute, freshman midfielder Hannah Werth had a good chance in the center of the box, but Szalwinski was there for the save.

The first half would end with Duquesne holding a 6-5 advantage in shots. In the second half, the Zips quickly went on the attack as a one-time blast from junior midfielder Taylor Ballard just 30 seconds into the second stanza sailed high. A long run down the center of the park by senior forward Ashley Hughes resulted in a shot for Akron at 54:31, but sophomore defender Brooke Carrel couldn't keep her strike below the bar. Late in the second half, the UA defense came up with a key stop to keep the score at 1-0. Following a Duquesne corner in the 87th minute, a scrum in the six-yard box resulted in a quick low shot by Maroney being cleared off the end line by Akron.

The Zips utilized three goalkeepers in the match, each playing about 30 minutes. Luevano-Harden played the first 30 and had two saves. Freshmen Alegra Kastens and Klaire Adee split the final 60, with Kastens making one save and Adee two.

Eight different Zips each had one shot with Waskowski, Hughes, Werth and sophomore midfielder Karina Atkinson each putting theirs on target. 28 Zips saw playing time in the friendly. For the match, Duquesne had 14 shots to Akron's eight. The Dukes also out-cornered the Zips, 6-4 and committed 13 fouls to five for Akron.

The Zips will continue preseason training next week, before traveling to Morgantown, W. Va. for an exhibition against 2011 NCAA Tournament participant West Virginia on Friday, Aug. 10 at 7 p.m. Akron's first regular season match is Friday, Aug. 17 at 5 p.m. against Morehead State at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field.

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