The last time we used this headline Zanesville Athletic was facing off against AFC Cleveland in NPSL action. Now the calendar has shifted to the collegiate season and Ohio’s top two collegiate sides are facing off in a nationally televised matchup.
The No. 10 University of Akron men’s soccer team dominated early and held on late in a 1-0 victory over Ohio State in front of 3,328 fans Tuesday night at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field.
Zac Portillos scored the match’s lone goal in the seventh minute and Robbie Derschang made a key defensive play late to preserve the win for the Zips, who improved to 6-2-0 on the year.
For the second consecutive match, Akron jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first half. Adam Najem initiated the play with a rocket that banged off the right cross bar and fell perfectly at the feet of Portillos, who cashed in from straight away with a shot that sailed over the keeper and into the back of the net.
UA was in complete control in the first half, out-shooting OSU 7-1 overall and putting three shots on frame, but a second goal did not come.
The Zips’ pressure continued after the break and UA nearly broke through in the 56th minute when Najem sent a corner in from the left side of the field. Portillos squared it up and fired from 12 yards out, but the Ohio State keeper, Alex Ivanov, who finished the night with five stops, got a hand up to deflect it off the cross bar and out of harm’s way.
Chasing the equalizer, the Buckeyes (2-3-2) threw numbers forward late and created a few frantic moments in the final 20 minutes.
One particularly dangerous moment came in the 86th minute when Alec Lowell whipped an OSU corner kick in that skipped across the goal and found the foot of Zach Mason. But Derschang crashed across the box and and blocked the shot to neutralize the threat.
The superb play of Zips goalkeeper Fernando Pina was also crucial in the final moments as the redshirt freshman did a commendable job managing his box on potentially dangerous Ohio State set pieces to earn his second consecutive clean sheet.
For the match, Akron out-shot Ohio State 15-6 and allowed just one shot on goal.
The Zips will next jump back into Mid-American Conference play this Sunday when they travel to West Virginia for a 7 p.m. kick off.