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No. 4 Akron (13-3-2) vs. West Virginia (7-11)
Friday, Nov. 13
FirstEnergy Stadium - Cub Cadet Field (5,000)
Akron, Ohio • 7 p.m.
AKRON, Ohio - Led by redshirt sophomore Sam Gainford (Liverpool, England), sophomores Stuart Holthusen (Auckland, New Zealand) and Richie Laryea (Toronto, Ontario (Canada)), junior Adam Najem (Clifton, N.J.), redshirt junior Brad Ruhaak (Akron, Ohio) and senior Andrew Souders (Amherst, Ohio) who were selected as first-team All-Mid-American Conference men's soccer selections, a league-best eight Akron student-athletes garnered All-MAC accolades as announced by the league on Thursday.
Najem and Souders became the first three-time first-team All-MAC recipients for Akron since Chad Barson was tabbed a first-team honoree in 2010, 2011 and 2012, respectively.
Gaining All-MAC recognition for the first time was Gainford, who has started 17 contests for the Zips this season, registering a team-highs in assists (7) and points (23), while ranking second in goals (8) and shots (45) and third in shots on goal (19) and game-winners (2).
A second-team all-conference honoree in 2014, Holthusen garnered first-team status this fall having appeared in 16 games en route to recording three goals, five assists and 11 points on 16 shots, including seven on goal.
Also making the jump to the first team was Laryea, who has started all 16 games in which he has appeared for Akron in 2015, owning team-best marks in goals (9), points (23) and game-winners (3), while ranking second in shots on goal (20) and third in assists (5) and shots (43).
Arguably the most well-rounded player in the conference, Najem, a first-team All-MAC honoree in 2014 and 2013, has started all 18 games for Akron this season, registering a team-highs in assists (7), points (23), shots (47), shots on goal (21) and game-winners (3), while rating second in goals (8).
At the back of the Zips' attack this season, all-conference honorees Fenlason, Ruhaak and Souders have sparked Akron to seven shutouts, including three in conference showdowns.
A first-team All-MAC performer in 2014 and 2013, Souders has helped anchor an Akron defensive backline this season having started all 18 games. He owns an assist on 11 shots sparking Akron to seven shutouts, including three in league play.
Complimenting the Souders on the left side of the Zips' defensive line is Ruhaak, who earned all-conference recognition for the first time in his Akron career. He has also provided an offensive spark for the Zips posting two goals on 13 shots.
A first-team All-MAC selection in 2014, Fenlason made his collegiate debut in the semifinals of the MAC Championship in 2013 and has not looked back starting all 43 games in goal for Akron, including 18 this fall en route to recording 70 saves, seven shutouts and a 1.23 goals against average. He recorded a league-best three shutouts and a .917 save percentage in conference play and posted a 22 saves en route to crafting a 0.38 goals against average.
Complimenting Akron's attack has been Sepe, who has started 12 of the 18 games in which he has appeared in for the Zips this season, collecting a goal and two assists on 29 shots, including 10 on goal.
Fourth-ranked Akron (13-3-2) returns to action on Friday, Nov. 13, as the top-seeded Zips face fourth-seeded West Virginia (7-11-0) in the semifinals of the MAC Championship at FirstEnergy Stadium-Cub Cadet Field. Game time is slated for 7:00 p.m. and will follow the conclusion of the other semifinal at 4 p.m. pitting second-seeded Western Michigan (11-3-4) versus third-seeded Buffalo (7-6-4).
The winners will advance to the MAC Championship game, which will be held Sunday at 1 p.m.
2015 All-MAC First Team
Sam Gainford, So. (R), F, Akron
Stuart Holthusen, So., F, Akron
Richie Laryea, So., MF, Akron
Adam Najem, Jr., MF, Akron
Brad Ruhaak, Jr. (R), D, Akron
Andrew Souders, Sr., D, Akron
Russell Cicerone, Jr., Buffalo, MF
Sean Conerty, Sr., Western Michigan, MF
Connor Furgason, Sr., Western Michigan, D
Drew Shepherd, So. (R), Western Michigan, GK
Nick Wysong, Sr., Western Michigan, MF
2015 All-MAC Second Team
Jake Fenlason, Sr., GK, Akron
Sean Sepe, Sr., D, Akron
Pat Flynn, Jr., Bowling Green, F
Ryan James, Sr., Bowling Green, M
Nick Forrester, So., Buffalo, D
Marcus Hanson, Sr., Buffalo, F
Luke Read, So., Northern Illinois, D
Ryan Cain, Sr., West Virginia, F
Joey Piatczyc, So., West Virginia, M
Zach Bock, So., Western Michigan, D
Brandon Bye, So., Western Michigan, F
2015 MAC Player of the Year
Russell Cicerone, Jr., Buffalo, MF
2015 MAC Newcomer of the Year
Kevin Rodriguez, Fr., Northern Illinois, MF
2015 MAC Coach of the Year
Chad Wiseman, Western Michigan