The UA Women's Soccer Insider


Zips Win in Women's Soccer Finale

BUFFALO, NY - October 25, 2012 - Junior midfielder Kelly DeNiro scored the game-winning goal in the 92nd minute as the University of Akron women's soccer team rallied past Buffalo, 2-1 in overtime, in its season finale Thursday afternoon in a Mid-American Conference match at UB Stadium. After UB took the lead in the 73rd minute on a penalty kick, the Zips equalized with a goal from senior forward Ashley Hughes in the 80th minute and DeNiro tallied the winner on a direct free kick in overtime.

"We knew coming in that unfortunately this was our last game of the season, but we had the opportunity to end the season with a win," said interim head coach Vernon Croft. "The easy thing for this team to do was quit, but they continued to battle and that came through today with a result. It was finally time for us to win a one-goal game in overtime and it was because of the heart and commitment our players showed to each other. I couldn't be more proud."

The Bulls' Courtney Gross – the twin sister of Akron junior defender Gillian Gross – took the game's first shot in the third minute which went over the crossbar and Buffalo earned the first corner kick of the match five minutes later.

Akron (6-11-1, 2-8-1 MAC) drew a free kick 25 yards from goal 10 minutes into the game, but Hughes' shot was blocked by the UB defense. In the 21st minute, the Zips won their first corner and a shot from junior midfielder Maggie Rusnak resulted, but her effort went wide.

Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Alex Luevano-Harden made a big save in the 28th minute off shot from Shannon Fisher to keep the Bulls off the board. DeNiro (31') and Hughes (45') each had shot attempts for the Zips that went wide right of goal as Luevano-Harden would total four saves in the first half for Akron to preserve a scoreless first half.

Hughes put Akron's first shot on frame just 29 seconds into the second period, but UB goalie Ainsley Wheldon made the stop, while senior midfielder Katie Wise had another chance at 51 minutes, but her strike was wide of the right post.

Senior midfielder Kirsten Schulte, who made her first start of the season, had an opportunity to give the Zips the lead in the 59th minute, but her attempt on a breakaway was saved by Wheldon. DeNiro put a shot just wide in the 70th minute, but Buffalo (5-12-2, 3-7-1 MAC) opened the scoring at 72:07 when Stephanie Velez converted a penalty kick after the Zips were whistled for a handball in the box.

UA answered with the equalizer just over seven minutes later at 79:20 when sophomore midfielder Karina Atkinson's cross from the right side of the box found Hughes who finished with a shot from the top of the box that hit the crossbar and went in for her team-leading eighth score of the season.

The match remained tied after 90 minutes and UA was forced to play into overtime for the third consecutive game and fourth time overall this season. But, just 1:11 into the extra period, DeNiro scored the game-winner on a free kick from 30 yards out in the center of the park as her strike beat Wheldon to the top left corner to give Akron the 2-1 victory.

Freshman Klaire Adee followed Luevano-Harden in goal, playing the second half and overtime, while registering three saves.

Double OT Thriller Ends in Loss for Akron Women in Home Finale

AKRON, OH - October 21, 2012 - Eastern Michigan's Emily Dzik scored the game-winning goal in the 106th minute as the Eagles rallied for a 2-1 double overtime victory over Akron in a Mid-American Conference women's soccer match Sunday afternoon at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field. Junior midfielder Kelly DeNiro scored her fourth goal of the season in the 73rd minute for Akron in its home finale.

Eastern Michigan (10-6-1, 7-3-0 MAC) took the game's first two in shots in the seventh minute before sophomore midfielder Karina Atkinson notched Akron's first in the 14th.

In the 31st minute, sophomore midfielder Brooke Carrel put the first shot on goal for Akron (5-11-1, 1-8-1 MAC) with a half volley from outside the 18-yard box, but it was saved by EMU goalie Megan McCabe. A minute later, freshman defender Holly Ohradzansky moved up from her right back position and fired a right footed blast wide of the near post. The game remained scoreless heading into halftime.

DeNiro got the first of shot of the second half just 25 seconds into the period and Eastern Michigan nearly took the lead in the 49th when Angela Vultaggio's chip hit the crossbar.

The Zips would score the opener at 72:20 when senior midfielder Katie Wise sent a cross from the left side of the box to the near post and DeNiro was able touch the ball in off the woodwork.

Freshman goalkeeper Klaire Adee made several fine saves in the second half, including a point blank stop off a shot from Vultaggio in the 82nd minute. However, the Eagles grabbed the equalizer at 83:45 when Cara Cutaia's low shot from the top of the box hit the near post and snuck in.

For the second straight game, the Zips played into overtime. In the first overtime, redshirt freshman midfielder Lexa Green hit a shot wide for Akron and had her header off a Hughes corner blocked in the 99th.

In the second overtime, the Eagles scored the game-winner at 105:47 when Dzik headed in a bouncing ball on the back post off Cutaia's corner.

In goal, redshirt sophomore Alex Luevano-Harden started and made one save in the first half. Adee played the remainder of the match and notched seven saves.

The Zips wrap up the season on Thursday at Buffalo. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m.

Senior Night Ends in Double OT Draw for Akron Women

AKRON, OH - October 19, 2012 - The University of Akron women's soccer team tied Western Michigan, 1-1 in double overtime, on Senior Night in a Mid-American Conference contest Friday night at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field. Prior to the match, the Zips honored seniors Ashley Hughes, Kirsten Schulte and Katie Wise for their contributions to the women's soccer program.

Sophomore midfielder Karina Atkinson scored her second goal of the season in the 41st minute for Akron off an assist from junior midfielder Kelly DeNiro. With her assist, DeNiro moved into a tie for first place in career assists in Akron's women's soccer record book.

Akron's (5-10-1, 1-7-1 MAC) first opportunity of the night was created by Wise as her shot from the right side of the box deflected out of bounds for a corner in the 10th minute. Five minutes later, the Zips put together a nice build up, but the final pass from junior defender Gillian Gross just missed Hughes in the center of the box.

Western Michigan (5-7-4, 1-3-4 MAC) would strike first at 25:52 as Rachel Chaney found Diana Dedvukaj in the center of the park. Dedvukaj took a couple of touches and hit a low strike that snuck inside the post to give the Broncos the 1-0 lead.

Freshman forward Megan Waskowski put Akron's first shot on goal just one minute after the WMU goal, but Bronco goalie Michelle Watson made the save. In the 38th minute, redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Alex Luevano-Harden made a fine double save on shots from Megan Putnam and Nicole Hatcliffe.

Then at 40:32, the Zips grabbed the equalizer as DeNiro played a great through ball into the right side of the box to Atkinson who finished to the far post. The match remained tied 1-1 heading into the intermission. 

In the second half, DeNiro forced saves out of Watson in the 62nd and 78th minutes with shots from outside the 18-yard box. WMU's Putnam had a lofted shot from 25 yards that hit the crossbar in the 80th and DeNiro's free kick in the 83rd just missed finding the foot of Wise on the far post and the game moved to overtime still knotted at 1-1.

Neither team would find the back of the net in overtime as Akron's best chance in extra session was early in the second 10-minute period when Atkinson's shot off a Hughes through ball went wide.

In goal, Luevano-Harden played the first half and made four saves. Freshman Klaire Adee kept the Broncos off the scoreboard over the final 65 minutes and had three saves.

The Zips play their final home match of the season on Sunday as they host Eastern Michigan at 1 p.m.

Akron Women Shutout BGSU

BOWLING GREEN, OH - October 14, 2012 -  Junior midfielder Kelly DeNiro scored two goals - both on assists from senior forward Ashley Hughes - as the University of Akron women's soccer team defeated Bowling Green, 2-0, in a Mid-American Conference match Sunday afternoon at Cochrane Field.

"I'm proud of the girls for persevering," said interim head coach Vernon Croft. "It has been a frustrating and challenging period recently with the one goal losses. Today was rewarding to get our first conference win. With that said, we need to move forward and prepare for Friday and Western Michigan.

Following two corner kicks by the Falcons in the fourth minute, Hughes took the first shot of the game in the sixth minute, but her effort went wide right of the goal.

Freshman forward Megan Waskowski forced a save out of BGSU goalkeeper Jenna Underwood in the 14th minute and then at the 14:03 mark the Zips (5-10-0, 1-7-0 MAC) struck first when Hughes fed DeNiro for her second goal of the season.

BGSU (1-14-1, 0-7-1 MAC) put their first shot on frame in the 27th minute and another in the 29th, but redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Alex Luevano-Harden made the saves. UA maintained the 1-0 lead going into halftime.

The Falcons opened the second half with shots on goal in the 50th and 51st minutes, and freshman goalkeeper Klaire Adee was there to stop both. At the 57:30 mark, Hughes again combined with DeNiro who finished to give the Zips a 2-0 lead.

At the 73-minute mark, senior midfielder Katie Wise took a shot that went wide of the left post and Adee came up with another save in the 77th.

The Zips defense held strong over the remaining minutes as Adee made three more saves to keep the Falcons from scoring.

In goal, Luevano-Harden started and played the first half and made two saves. Adee played the second 45 and registered six saves. The two keepers combined to post Akron's third shutout of the season.

The Zips return home to FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field on Friday, Oct. 19 for Senior Night against Western Michigan at 7:30 p.m. Akron also hosts Eastern Michigan on Sunday, Oct. 21 at 1 p.m.

Croft's Zips Fall to Central Michigan

MOUNT PLEASANT, MI - October 12, 2012 - Central Michigan's Jennifer Gassman scored the game-winning goal in the 80th minute as the University of Akron women's soccer team fell to the Chippewas, 2-1, in a Mid-American Conference match Friday afternoon at the CMU Soccer Complex. Freshman forward Megan Waskowski notched her fourth goal of the season for the Zips.

"Central Michigan is arguably the best team in the conference and at times, I thought we put them on their heels," said interim head coach Vernon Croft. "We did everything we needed to do to be in position to win the game and with the injuries we've had, that forced us to play some players out of position. But I thought those players did well adjusting to their new roles. It continues to be frustrating for everyone with the tough one goal losses."

Central Michigan (10-4-1, 6-1-0 MAC), the current leaders of the MAC West Division, opened the game with two shots on goal in the first five minutes. The Zips first chance came off a shot from junior midfielder Kelly DeNiro in the 10th minute, but her effort went wide of the left post.

The Chippewas opened the scoring at the 12:00 mark when Danielle Rotheram found Ashley Mejilla, who finished from five yards out. In the 20th minute, junior midfielder Maggie Rusnak saved a shot off the line from Bailey Brandon to keep the game at one goal advantage for the home side.

The Zips (4-10-0, 0-7-0 MAC) fought back and found the equalizer at 32:57 when senior forward Ashley Hughes attacked into the left side of the Chippewa box and found Waskowski for the game-tying score. The match remained tied at 1-1 heading into halftime.

Early in the second half, Hughes created offense as her header went wide in the 52nd minute and she had another attempt blocked by the CMU defense in the 56th.

With 34 minutes remaining, freshman goalkeeper Klaire Adee made a good save on a strike from Rotheram and CMU's Kaely Schlosser hit the crossbar on two occasions, but the game remained tied.

Freshman defender Katie George had a shot that forced a save out of Central Michigan goalkeeper Grace Labrecque in the 75th minute, but with just over 10 minutes remaining Central Michigan scored the game winner at 79:51 as Gassman's header found the back of the net. Estee Outcalt assisted.

In goal, redshirt sophomore Alex Luevano-Harden started and played the first 45 minutes and made three saves. Adee played the second half and had six stops.

The Zips continue their MAC road weekend Sunday at Bowling Green. Kickoff from Cochrane Field is set for 1 p.m.

Kent State Surprises Akron in Women's Soccer

AKRON, OH - October 7, 2012 - Senior forward Ashley Hughes continued her scoring streak with two more goals, but the University of Akron women's soccer team fell to Kent State, 3-2 in double overtime, in a Mid-American Conference match Sunday afternoon at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field. The Golden Flashes rallied from a 2-1 deficit and won the game on Morgan Mah's goal in the 103rd minute.

The game was part of the PNC Wagon Wheel Challenge, a year-long all-sport competition between Kent State and Akron. With the win, Kent State earned one point towards its season total. Kent State currently leads the season point standing, 1-0.5. The Zips volleyball team earned 0.5 points with their sweep over KSU last night in the first of two match-ups between the two squads this year.

Kent State improved to 8-3-2 overall and 3-2-1 in the MAC with the victory. The Zips fell to 4-9-0, 0-6-0 in the MAC.

UA got on the board early as Hughes found the back of the net at the 4:49 mark on the first shot of the game. Junior midfielder Kelly DeNiro found Hughes on the left side of the field, where she turned and dribbled at the Kent State defense. Hughes then cut inside at the top of the 18 and fired a right-footed shot into the goal to give Akron a 1-0 lead.

Kent nearly answered in the seventh minute as Sara Henderson got on the end of a cross on the far post, but her shot went wide.

After a Hughes cross just missed finding the head of junior midfielder Maggie Rusnak, the Golden Flashes' Jessacca Gironda hit the crossbar with a shot in the 27th minute.

Hughes again sent in a nice service into the box in the 40th minute, but junior midfielder Rachel Dennis' shot went over the crossbar and the game remained 1-0 Akron heading into halftime.

Kent State came out on the attack early in the second half and the Golden Flashes scored the equalizer at 58:02 when Jaclyn Dutton controlled a cross near the top of the box and finished into the left side of the goal.

Akron responded with a goal of their own under 10 minutes later as Hughes and senior midfielder Katie Wise connected on a nice combination play and Wise was taken down in the box. The referee pointed to the spot and Hughes converted the penalty kick at 67:14, beating Kent State goalkeeper Stephanie Senn to her left for her team leading seventh goal of the season. It was Hughes' fourth goal in the last three games.

The Golden Flashes would press numbers forward over the final 20 minutes as Gironda's header in the 77th went over the bar.

Following a KSU corner in the 83rd minute, the Zips defense blocked a dangerous close range shot by Dutton. With four minutes remaining in regulation, sophomore defender Brianna Kanz made a great defensive save off the goal line on a shot from Madison Helterbran and UA redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Alex Luevano-Harden was their to pounce on the rebound.

But with just 51 seconds remaining, a Kent State player went down near Akron's six-yard box and the referee awarded the Golden Flashes a penalty kick. Dutton converted it for KSU, sending the match into overtime tied at 2-2.

In the first overtime, Wise created her own chance in the 97th minute as she dribbled into the left side Kent State box, but her low right footed shot stayed wide of the far post.

Then at 102:37, Kent State's Mah scored the golden goal as she hit a one-time strike off an Akron clear from 23 yards in the center of the park.

In goal, Luevano-Harden played the entire game for Akron and made five saves.

The Zips will be back in action next weekend on the road as they travel to Central Michigan Friday for a 4 p.m. kickoff and Bowling Green Sunday for a 1 p.m. start.

UA Women Fall to OU

ATHENS, OH - October 5, 2012 - The University of Akron women's soccer team scored two goals within eight minutes late in the second half to rally from a three goal deficit, but the Zips fell to Ohio University, 3-2, in a Mid-American Conference match Friday afternoon at Chessa Field.

Junior midfielder Amber Kern scored her first career goal for the Zips, while senior forward Ashley Hughes put away her team-leading fifth goal of the season.

The Zips created the game's first dangerous opportunity in the ninth minute as senior midfielder Katie Wise found Hughes, who had her shot blocked by the Ohio defense. UA won a corner in the 13th minute, while the Bobcats put shots on goal in the 10th and 19th minutes.

In the 23rd minute, freshman goalkeeper Klaire Adee came up with a big save on shot inside the box from Ohio's Cat Rogers. Following a free kick by sophomore defender Hailey Kirkwood in the 39th minute, the Zips won a corner and junior midfielder Kelly DeNiro placed a well struck shot on frame, but OU goalie Mattie Liston made the save.

Ohio (7-5-1, 2-2-1 MAC) opened the scoring at the 41:55 mark as Liz Finley connected from close range after a Bobcat free kick. Veronica Rock and Annie Beard assisted and the Bobcats kept the 1-0 lead going into halftime.

Hughes and DeNiro each had shots for Akron (4-8-0, 0-5-0 MAC) in the first five minutes of the second stanza. DeNiro then found Wise in the 61st minute, but her strike went over the bar.

Adee made a save on a good shot by Rogers in the 66th minute as she was able to parry the ball over the crossbar. Hughes forced a save out of Liston with a shot on goal in the 71st, but Ohio put a second goal on the board at 73:04 when Holly Harris' strike from 25 yards out found the top corner of the net. Rogers supplied the assist.

Rogers connected with Harris again at 74:54 to make the game 3-0 in favor of OU. However, the Zips pulled a goal back just two and a half minutes later at 77:03 when Kern was able to score on header off an assist from DeNiro.

UA kept the pressure on and cut the Bobcat lead to one at 3-2 when Hughes's shot from the outside off a Wise pass found the low far post at 85:14. But the Bobcats managed to hold on over the final four minutes and change to get the conference victory.

In goal, Adee played the first 75 minutes and was credited with five saves. Redshirt sophomore Alex Luevano-Harden played the final 15 minutes.

For the match, shots were even at 17-17, while Akron had five corners to Ohio's three.

Akron returns home to FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field on Sunday as the Zips host Kent State at 1 p.m. The game is part of the PNC Wagon Wheel Challenge, a year-long all-sport competition between Kent State and Akron.

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