AKRON, Ohio – The fifth-seeded University of Akron men's soccer team earned a 2-1 win over Michigan Sunday to advance to the NCAA Round of 16 for the fifth-consecutive season in front of 3,264 fans at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field.
Eric Stevenson and Thomas Schmitt were the goal scorers for the Zips (18-1-2), who improved to 8-0-1 on their home field during the NCAA postseason since 2008. UA will next host No. 12-seeded Creighton – which defeated Washington, 4-2, in its second-round match – Sunday, Nov. 25, at 4:30 p.m. (ET) in the third round of the NCAA Tournament.
Akron and Michigan went back and forth early on as both teams felt each other out. But the Zips began to find their groove midway through the first half and had a number of chances to score before Stevenson broke through in the 43rd minute.
Their best sequence up to that point came in the 38th minute when Dillon Serna and Scott Caldwell teamed up to pepper the Wolverines' goal with a trio of rapid-fire shots; all coming in the 38th minute.
Michigan goalkeeper Adam Grinwis was up to the task however and turned away a rocket from Serna from mid-range and a rebound from Caldwell to keep the game scoreless. Serna recorded a third shot during the frantic series but a U-M defender was there to block it.
Although the Zips didn't score, momentum clearly shifted into their favor from that point on. Stevenson made Michigan pay minutes later when he collected a volley near the top of the box on the left side of the field and fired a laser across the goal and into the upper-right 90 to give Akron the lead.
Schmitt gave Akron some much-needed breathing room with a beautiful strike in the 59th minute. Schmitt took a pass from Aodhan Quinn on the left flank and chipped a high arcing shot over Grinwis from 15 yards out.
The Wolverines got a goal back just three minutes later on a restart but that's as close as they would get. Ironically, the foul and subsequent altercation that led to the U-M free kick also resulted in a straight red card shown to Colin McAtee as Michigan was forced to play a man down the rest of the way.
Nonetheless, Tyler Arnone played the U-M free kick back to James Murphy, who needled a shot through the Zips' wall and into the back of the net. Michigan nearly found the equalizer in the 86th minute when Fabio Pereira sent a liner headed towards the upper-right 90 but a UA goalkeeper David Meves made a tremendous diving save to preserve the Akron lead.
It was one of four saves for Meves on the day. Grinwis was just as impressive for U-M, finishing with nine saves. The Zips out-shot the Wolverines 25-12 for the match, including an 11-5 margin on frame.
Furthermore, by logging 90 minutes in net, Meves became the NCAA's all-time minutes leader with 8,498 over his four-year career. Brian Edwards, who logged 8,489 minutes for Wake Forest from 2004-07, was the previous record holder.
Tickets for next Sunday's match are on sale now at GoZips.com/tickets. Fans can also call 1-888-99-AKRON (25766) or stop by the C.P. and Cornelia S. Chima Athletics Ticket Office at InfoCision Stadium – Summa Field (located at the southwest corner of the venue, near Gate 1, at the corner of East Exchange and South Union streets) during business hours.
Reserved tickets – both chair back and bleacher back seats – will be available for $15. General admission tickets are $10 while UA student tickets are $1.
Zips Notebook: Akron is 6-0 versus Big Ten schools this season and is 19-2-1 versus the conference since 2009 ... The Zips improved to 113-3-4 when scoring first and 91-1-3 when scoring two or more goals since 2006 ... UA is 10-0-1 at home this season and has been defeated just once (55-1-6) on its home field in the last five years.