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Men’s College Soccer: Akron Falls to VCU in Battle of Nationally Ranked Sides

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Friday the 13th turned out to be unlucky for the #7 ranked University of Akron men’s soccer team as they fell 1-0 to the visiting #19 VCU Rams in their own tournament.

The Zips absolutely dominated their opponents on the stat sheet, posting a 28-3 advantage in shots and a 7-1 edge on corners.  But we all know that games are played on the pitch, not on an Excel worksheet.

Adam Najem and Columbus Crew Academy product Eric Stevenson led Akron with five shots apiece.  The problem was that the finishing touch was just not there, which was frustrating for Akron fans, players, and coaches alike.

“We couldn’t find a goal,” Akron head coach Jared Embick commented. “We fell asleep in one moment and they punished us. You know it’s disappointing. We struggled to score goals, but we have to keep searching for ways to score goals. Someone has to step up.”

The stellar performance of VCU keeper Andrew Wells, who finished with a clean sheet and 7 saves, was also a factor in the loss.

“He is a very good goalkeeper,” VCU head coach Dave Giffard stated. “We feel pretty good about him back there. I thought he had a very good night.”

Two RVA FC players get ready to start things off for VCU against Akron (Photo Credit:

It was a Dennis Castillo goal in the 75th that proved to be the difference as the Costa Rican headed in a cross from fellow countryman Juan Monge Solano.  The night’s only goal was a nail in the coffin for the Zips as the home team failed to land a single goal of their own.  The equalizing goal was as elusive as ever.

Even former Chelsea FC Academy player Ismail Seremba, who has sparked the attack coming off the bench, couldn’t connect on 4 shots in his first career start.

But all is not lost as Akron will have a chance to redeem themselves on Sunday facing the Aztecs of San Diego State in the final match of the tourney.  SDSU defeated Niagara 2-0 in Friday’s early match.

Another great crowd is certainly expected on Sunday afternoon, but it remains to be seen if they will be exceed the 3,319 that braved unpredictable weather on Friday evening.

Match Photos