The UA Women's Soccer Insider

Akron Blanks E. Michigan as Wolbert Breaks Record

AKRON, OH - September 25, 2011 - The University of Akron women’s soccer team took control of a scoreless match with a trio of second half goals to knock off visiting Eastern Michigan, 3-0, at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field on Sunday afternoon.

Senior goalkeeper Jeny Wolbert made three saves in the contest to record her 22nd career win in net. The victory gives Wolbert the Akron career goaltending wins record, breaking Krystin Wilson’s previous mark of 21. Wilson tended net for the Zips from 2004-07. The shutout was the 14th of Wolbert’s career.

Akron (4-3-1, 1-0-1 Mid-American Conference) kept its fourth straight clean sheet and limited EMU (0-8-1, 0-2-0 MAC) to just three shots on goal – all coming prior to halftime - in the match. UA is 3-0-1 during its shutout streak. Junior Ashley Hughes, sophomore Kelly DeNiro, and freshman Alexandra Frawley all scored for the Zips.

Akron held an 11-3 advantage in shots on goal in the contest. Hughes, DeNiro, and senior Rachel Phillip fired three shots each. Hughes opened up a scoreless match less than ten minutes into the second half, when she connected with a Jordan Clark free kick. Senior defender Kara Cooper completed a good spell of possession by Akron with a run down the right side, where an EMU defender hauled her to the ground. Clark’s resulting restart was deflected to Hughes, who fired a shot from the corner of the 6-yard box into the far left post for her team-leading third goal of the season. Clark picked up her first assist of the year.

DeNiro turned in a top-notch strike in the 67th minute to extend the Akron lead. DeNiro collected a loose ball in the center of the Akron attacking half, moved unopposed to 25 yards out, and unleashed a blast that skimmed inside the right post leaving EMU keeper Maggie Manville with no chance. It was DeNiro’s second goal of the season.

Frawley put the exclamation point on the match with her first collegiate goal in the 83rd minute. The freshman midfielder found the end of a Kirsten Schulte corner and finished with a header from eight yards out. Kyarah Foushee’s 26th minute first-time volley of a Clark free kick proved to be Akron’s best chance of the first half. Clark provided the service from just outside the penalty area on the right flank and Foushee darted inside her marker to get a high boot to the cross at the corner of the 6-yard box. The volley was tipped wide of the far post by Manville to keep the game scoreless. Akron sent five shots on goal in the first period, while Wolbert made three first half saves. The Zips fired eight shots – to EMU’s three – in the second period, and held possession for long stretches of action.

The Zips will look to continue their recent good form and remain unbeaten in MAC play next weekend when they travel to Northern Illinois and Western Michigan. UA plays NIU Friday at 5:00 p.m. EST and WMU Sunday at 1:00 EST. 

Zips, Chippewas Fight to 0-0 Draw in MAC Opener

AKRON, OH - September 23, 2011 - The University of Akron women’s soccer team fought defending Mid-American Conference Tournament champion Central Michigan to a scoreless draw in the MAC opener for both teams Friday night at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field.

The match was evenly played across the board with each side holding possession for long, alternating periods and each squad firing three shots on goal. UA goalkeeper Jeny Wolbert made a trio of saves and earned her third shutout of the season. It was the Zips third straight clean sheet, extending Akron’s current shutout streak to 316 minutes. The first half saw each team fire three shots, with the Zips producing a pair of excellent chances late in the period. UA (3-3-1) created its first grade-A opportunity in the 32nd minute when Rachel Phillip found herself in space on the left flank after a quick Akron restart. Phillip sent in a high, driven cross towards the back post that ricocheted just passed the right post. Jordan Clark then nearly opened the scoring in the 41st minute when her one-time strike from the center of the box sailed inches high of the crossbar. Clark just missed again minutes later when her shot from distance was a foot wide.

Ashley Hughes had Akron’s best chance in the second half, when she split a pair of CMU (6-1-2) defenders and charged in on goal from the left side of the penalty area. Hughes’ shot to the far post was tipped just wide by Chippewa keeper Stefanie Turner to keep the game scoreless. Akron played well defensively through the whole match, turning away numerous Chippewa long free kicks into the box and holding CMU to just the three shots on frame.

The Zips take on Eastern Michigan on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. at FirstEnergy Stadium - Cub Cadet Field. 

Zips Earn 2-0 Victory over Eastern Illinois

AKRON, OH - September 17, 2011 - The University of Akron women’s soccer team kept its second consecutive clean sheet with a 2-0 defeat of Eastern Illinois at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field on Saturday afternoon.

Senior goalkeeper Jeny Wolbert was forced to make just a pair of saves in recording her second shutout of the season. The win was the 21st win of Wolbert’s career moving her into a tie for the UA career record for goaltending wins. Krystin Wilson also recorded 21 wins from 2004-07.

Sophomore midfielder Kelly DeNiro and senior forward Rachel Phillip each scored for Akron. Senior midfielder Jordan Clark was a threat all afternoon and totaled four shots in the contest.

The Zips (3-3-0) dominated possession throughout the contest, holding a 13-4 advantage in shots and an 8-4 edge in corner kicks. DeNiro provided the Zips with the early edge, with a blast in the 28th minute. The sophomore midfielder collected a loose ball on the top left of the box, took a settling touch, and launched a laser into the upper 90 that left EIU keeper Jessica Taldone with no chance. It was DeNiro’s first goal of the season and the second of her career.

Akron continue to apply pressure after the DeNiro tally, forcing Taldone to make four more saves prior to halftime. The pressure culminated with Kyarah Foushee nearly doubling the score with less than a minute remaining in the half. Ashley Hughes played her into the center of the area with Taldone charging out to produce a kick save of Foushee’s shot to keep the game at 1-0.

The Zips continued to control the match in the second half, and doubled the lead in the 54th minute on Phillip’s first goal of the season. Freshman Karina Atkinson found Phillip in space in the penalty area with a pass from the left endline. Phillip then froze Taldone with a low shot from 14 yards out that glanced off the right post and into the net. Atkinson picked up assist number two on the season. UA just missed a third goal in the game’s final minutes when Ashley Hughes point blank shot was stopped by EIU back-up netminder Brittany O’Dell. Senior defender Kara Cooper created the chance with a lung-busting run down the right flank. Cooper then fed Hughes on the six-yard box, whose one-timer was knocked away by O’Dell. The Zips will begin Mid-American Conference play next weekend when they play Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field. UA takes on CMU Friday at 7:30 p.m. and EMU Sunday at 1:00 p.m.

UA Attack Buries FAU

TAMPA, FL - September 11, 2011 - Junior Ashley Hughes scored a pair of goals and freshman Karina Atkinson tallied a goal and an assist to lead The University of Akron women’s soccer team to a 4-0 win over Florida Atlantic on Sunday morning in
the final game of the South Florida Tournament.

The Akron (2-3-0) win snapped a three-game losing skid. The four goals in the match were the most scored by the Zips since defeating Pittsburgh 6-2 in the 2008 season-opener.

“This weekend was a perfect preparation for our conference season,” UA coach Chris Pfau said. The Zips were defeated by South Florida 1-0 on Friday. “We bounced back today with a fine win over a tough opponent.”

Senior goalkeeper Jeny Wolbert and redshirt freshman Alex Luevano-Harden combined for the clean sheet. Wolbert made three saves in 70-plus minutes in net and Luevano-Harden made one stop after coming on in the 72nd minute. Kyarah Foushee also scored for Akron – her second goal of the season – and Rachel Phillip and Kelly DeNiro each fired two shots in the game.

Akron jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first half, opening the scoring on its first shot of the contest when Hughes scored her first of two goals in the 21st minute on an assist from sophomore Gillian Gross. Gross sent in a cross from 35 yards out that Hughes brought down with her chest and finished to FAU keeper Ashley Lantes’ back post. The helper from Gross was the first
point of her career.

The Zips doubled the lead ten minutes later when Atkinson – making her collegiate debut - found the net for the first time in her young career in the 31st minute. DeNiro fired a shot that Lantes parried into the path of Atkinson, who buried the rebound into the back of the net to give UA the 2-0 advantage.

Foushee scored her second goal of the season in the 41st minute when Atkinson found her in space in the middle of the penalty area. Foushee then ripped a shot into the upper right corner of the net.

Hughes completed her double when she was dragged down in the box by Lantes as she moved in all alone on the FAU net in the 66th minute. Senior midfielder Jordan Clark played the initial through ball to Hughes, who finished the resulting penalty low to the keeper’s left.

Akron outshot the Owls 11-7 in the match, including a 7-4 advantage in shots on goal.

“With today's result we demonstrated defensive resilience and a sharpness in front of goal that we plan to build upon through our season,” Pfau said. “It was also great to get our whole travel roster some minutes during today."

Zips Fall at South Florida, 1-0

TAMPA, FL - September 9, 2011 - The University of Akron women’s soccer team surrendered a 64th minute goal eventually losing to South Florida 1-0 on Friday evening in the first game of the South Florida Tournament. UA (1-3-0) goalkeeper Jeny Wolbert made eight saves in the match. Senior Jordan Clark fired a pair of shots to lead the Zips offensive effort.

“I was very proud of our effort tonight,” UA coach Chris Pfau said. “We competed very well and really controlled the game at the beginning of each half. The difference in the match was that South Florida has more games under its belt and they were sharper at the end of each half.”

South Florida (3-2-1) produced the match’s only score when Demi Stokes headed home a cross from Brittany Piulon just under 20 minutes into the second half. The Zips continue action at the South Florida Tournament on Sunday morning when they face Florida Atlantic at 11:30 a.m. 

UA Women Dominated by Michigan State

AKRON, OH - September 4, 2011 - Jeny Wolbert's 8 saves were just not enough as the University of Akron's women's soccer team stumbled to a 5-0 defeat at the hands of the Michigan State Spartans (4-1-0).

Photo Credit: Gary L. Moody Jr."There was a lot of pressure," Wolbert declared. "It was just hard to get everything organized; everybody was quite frantic. I think we were mentally tired."

MSU striker Olivia Stander caused fits for the Akron defense and finished with a hat trick. Stander opened her scoring account in just the 17th minute, launching a blast to the top right corner of the goal just out of Wolbert's reach. Akron (1-2-0) struggled to find a rhythm, but somehow managed to keep the Spartans to a 1-0 lead at the half.

The second half proved to be a nightmare for the hometown Zips. Stander scored again in the 62nd as she broke through Akron's backline and dribbled around Wolbert for the score and a 2-0 lead. Stander would hit the back of the net in the 80th minute, which was followed by a Laura Heyboer goal a mere 30 seconds later. Kori Reinhart launched a blast into the left side of the goal in the 87th to give Michigan State a 5-0 lead, which was how it all ended at FirstEnergy Stadium - Cub Cadet Field.

Akron struggled on both sides of the ball, but several players had standout performances that give hope for the remainder of the season. Wolbert made some spectacular saves and was relentless in the box. Junior Ashley Hughes provided a physical presence in the midfield and was agressive box to box. Senior Kara Cooper proved to be the best defender on the field, making play after play to stop the bleeding on defense.

UA hopes to turn things around at the South Florida Tournament in Tampa, where they will face South Florida (September 9) and Florida Atlantic (September 11).

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