Akron Soccer Advances With Win Over Indiana

Kevork Djansezian

The Zips struck early and often against the Hoosiers, but needed to avoid a collapse before winning 3-2 and advancing to play Marquette.

The Akron soccer team was out to prove the NCAA wrong for their slight against the Zips on Selection Monday.  The unseeded Zips hosted the defending champion Hoosiers in the sacred confines at First Energy Stadium-Cub Cadet Field.  The Zips faithful came out in droves to support their favorite squad.

Akron wasted no time getting on the scoreboard when an early strike from Reinaldo Brenes snuck under the defender's legs and into the net just six minutes in.

What followed the opening goal was a series of scares and miscues by the Zips' defense.  Indiana could not capitalize whether it was due to their own miscues or the play of GK Jake Fenlason.  Akron would get their own chance when Aodhan Quinn scored a beautiful goal to give the Zips a 2-0 lead.

It appeared the Zips took a 3-0 lead and the scoreboard even changed to reflect the near goal by Brenes, but nonetheless a great save by Indiana kept the score at 2-0 going into the half.

The second half started much like the first with another Brenes goal just two minutes into the half and the Zips took a 3-0 to put the game seemingly out of hand.  I say seemingly because it was the exact opposite of that.  What followed was what felt like the longest 43 minutes Akron fans may ever experience.

Indiana would score back to back goals off corner kicks to make the score 3-2 with plenty of time left.  The next 6 hours 37 minutes saw several opportunities for Indiana to equalize, but the Zips held off with some great saves by Fenlason and good ball control to end the game.

The Zips will travel to Wisconsin to take on 9th seeded Marquette on 6 PM Sunday in the round of 32.  The Golden Eagles have a record of 12-5-2 and are the Big East champions.  If the Zips continue to capitalize on their chances offensively and shore up their defense, expect them to advance to the Sweet 16.

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