Men's Soccer Ready For National Spotlight At The University of Akron Tournament

Men's Soccer Ready For National Spotlight At The University of Akron Tournament

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– The No. 9 University of Akron men's soccer team will return home to host a pair of BIG EAST foes at the annual University of Akron Tournament this weekend at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field.

The Zips will have the national spotlight when they face No. 10 St. John's Friday at 7 p.m. ET, on FOX Soccer Channel. Dean Linke (play-by-play) and Keith Tabatznik (analysis) will have the call. UA will then conclude the tournament Sunday when it takes on No. 11 South Florida at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Both matches will air locally on Fox Sports 1350 AM (WARF). Longtime Voice-Of-The-Zips Steve French (play-by-play) and former Akron soccer All-American Simon Spelling (analysis) will bring you all the action.

Match #6: No. 9 Akron Zips (3-1-1) vs. No. 10 St. John's Red Storm (5-0-1)
Date/Time: Sept. 14, 2012  •  7:00 p.m. ET
Venue: FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field  •  Akron, Ohio
Match Notes: Akron at The University of Akron Tournament (PDF)
Televison: FOX Soccer Channel  •  Radio: FOX Sports 1350 AM (WARF)
Live Stats: GoZips.com  •  Video Stream: GoZips.com

Match #7: No. 9 Akron Zips (3-1-1) vs. No. 11 South Florida Bulls (4-1-0)
Date/Time: Sept. 16, 2012  •  7:30 p.m. ET
Venue: FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field  •  Akron, Ohio
Match Notes: Akron at The University of Akron Tournament (PDF)
Televison: None  •  Radio: FOX Sports 1350 AM (WARF)
Live Stats: GoZips.com  •  Video Stream: GoZips.com

Tournament Breakdown
• Rounding out the tournament action this weekend, Butler will face South Florida Friday at 3:30 p.m. ET and St. John's Sunday at Noon.
• Live stats and a free video stream for all four matches will be provided by Zips Athletics.
• Akron has won its home tournament four times in the last five years. New Mexico won the tie breaker with the Zips last season to snap UA's run of four straight tournament titles (2007-10).

Poll Position
• The Zips enter the week ranked No. 9 by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).
• Additionally, UA is ranked highly in other major polls this week, including Soccer America (9), Top Drawer Soccer (5) and College Soccer News (10).
• Akron is ranked second, behind Notre Dame (5-0-0), in the NSCAA Great Lakes Regional Rankings. Marquette (5-0-0) and Indiana (4-1-1) are tied for third while Northwestern (3-0-2) rounds out the top five.

About St. John's
• The 10th-ranked Red Storm enter the week unbeaten after six matches with a 5-0-1 record.
• STJ has played four of its first six contests at home where it posted wins over Boston University (3-0), Princeton (3-0) and William & Mary (2-1) while tying Colgate (1-1).
• St. John's also picked up a pair of wins versus South Carolina (2-0) and Kentucky (2-1) at the Gamecock Classic.
• The Red Storm have out-scored their opponents 13-3, including a 7-1 advantage in the first half. Four players have scored at least two goals this fall, led by senior midfielder Jack Bennett, who has tallied three goals to go with a pair of assists.  

St. John's Series Notes
• Friday's match represents the third all-time meeting between the Zips and Red Storm and the first since 2005.
• It will also be the first time Akron has hosted St. John's after earning a 2-2 draw at then-ranked No. 4 SJU in 2005 and suffering a 4-0 setback to the Red Storm at the Rutger's Tournament in 1992.

About South Florida
• The 11th-ranked Bulls bounced back from their first loss of the season – a 1-0 setback to South Carolina last Thursday – by scoring a pair of second-half goals to rally past Iona, 2-1, Saturday.
• South Florida (4-1 overall, including 2-0 on the road) won its first three contests of the year, posting victories over Michigan (2-1), then-ranked No. 20 SMU (1-0) and Tulsa (2-1).
• Six different players have scored at least one goal for USF. Junior defender Ben Sweat leads the club with two.
• Strangely, the Bulls have out-shot their opponents 23-10 in the first half this season, yet have been out-scored 2-0 during that time. All seven USF goals this year have come after halftime.  

South Florida Series Notes
• The Zips and Bulls will also be facing off for the third time in a series that dates back to the 2007 season.
• South Florida ended the Zips' season in the second round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament with a 1-0 decision in double overtime. Akron returned the favor in a second-round rematch in 2009 with a 2-0 victory. Both contests were played in Akron.
• USF's win in 2007 was a significant one in that it was the last home defeat for the Zips until Michigan State pulled out a 1-0 victory in the final home contest of the regular season in 2011. Akron broke the NCAA's record for longest home unbeaten streak last fall with a run of 48 straight contests, spanning four seasons (2008-11).

Akron vs. The BIG EAST
• The Zips own an all-time mark of 46-16-15 (.695) versus current members of the BIG EAST Conference.
• The Zips have been even better against the BIG EAST under head coach Caleb Porter's leadership. In fact, UA is 7-1-0 (.875) against the league since 2006, including a pair of victories against West Virginia, which was a member of the conference until this season. WVU was added (men's soccer only) as an affiliate member of the Mid-American Conference in 2012.

Zips Reset
• Akron finished second at the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament in South Bend, Ind., last weekend with a 1-1-0 record. The Zips picked up a 1-0 win over No. 10 Indiana Friday and suffered their first defeat of the year in a short-handed 3-1 setback to host No. 17 Notre Dame Sunday.  
Eric Stevenson's first half goal (19') was the difference against the Hoosiers while Scott Caldwell (4') netted the first score of the match against the Fighting Irish.
• The Zips, who were leading 1-0 at the time, were forced to play a man short against Notre Dame after Aodhan Quinn was sent off with a straight red in the 30th minute. The Irish capitalized with three second-half goals – two coming off restarts and one on a penalty kick – to hand Akron just it's fifth regular-season defeat on the road since 2008 (31-5-6).

Unfamiliar Territory
• Sunday's loss at Notre Dame was just the 18th defeat for the Zips in 141 matches under Coach Porter.
• Furthermore, the two-goal margin marked the first time Akron had been defeated by more than one goal since a 3-0 setback at North Carolina in September of 2007. Since then, UA had suffered just nine losses over the next five seasons; each by one goal.
• The Zips are 13-2-1 (.845) all-time following losses under Coach Porter have not endured back-to-back setbacks since 2007.  

No Place Like Home
• Historically speaking, there has been no better home field advantage in the country than the one enjoyed by the Zips at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field.
• With a 5-0 victory over Cleveland State on Aug. 27, 2011, the Zips surpassed Tulsa for the NCAA's all-time standard for the longest home unbeaten streak (40 matches). The Golden Hurricane set the original mark of 39 games from 1988-'92.
• The Zips would remain unbeaten on their home field for eight more matches (6-0-2) in 2011 to push the record to 48 contests (44-0-4) before Michigan State ended the remarkable run with a 1-0 victory on Nov. 2, 2011. During the historic stretch, Akron out-scored its opponents 119-21 at home while posting 31 shutouts.
• Including its season-opening 4-0 victory over Florida Gulf Coast last month, Akron has been defeated just once on its home field since the start of the 2008 season, spanning 52 matches (46-1-5). Moreover, the Zips have trailed at home just six times during the last five seasons for a total of 82 minutes and 43 seconds.

Packing The Pitch
• Fans have been flocking to FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field at a record-setting pace in recent years. In fact, all 10 of the highest attendance marks in school history have been set in the last four seasons, including a high of 5,819 set against Ohio State (W, 3-1) on Sept. 28, 2011.
• Akron finished second in the nation in average attendance (3,213) in 2010 and sixth in 2011 despite increasing its average to 3,300 fans per match. Moreover, the Zips broke the school's single-game attendance record twice last fall with two crowds of more than 5,000 fans.