The last time the Akron Zips took on the Louisville Cardinals, the NCAA Championship was on the line. The Zips scored a late goal, held off a furious rally, and won their first team national championship in 2010.
This time around, the 5th seeded Zips headed to Louisville to take on the Cardinals, the 4th seed. The two teams played to a scoreless tie in regulation and neither team managed to score a golden goal in either overtime. In the second overtime, Akron withstood a rally by the Cardinals and then managed to go on the offensive late. The Zips had multiple chances to put the game away, but were thwarted by great play from Will Meyer, the young Cardinals’ keeper from Solon, Ohio. The game was to be decided by penalty kicks.
Louisville had the first chance. He missed and was devastated. Stuart Holthusen promptly gave the Zips the edge.
On the second kid, the Akron keeper guessed right, but a better shot found the back of the net. Pau Belana made a solid kick, but Meyer came up huge again, evening the score.
Tim Kubel put the Cardinals up and Meyer made another sensational save. Things looked bleak for the Zips after the third round of kicks, down 2-1.
Ben Lundt used all of his 6’6 frame to make the save to give the Zips hope. Sam Gainford evened it up for the Zips
In the 5th round, Lundt guessed right again and got his hands on the ball, but it wasn’t enough and Akron’s season rested on the shot from Joao Moutinho. He calmly knocked it in.
Lundt made the save on a solid shot from the Cardinals. Niko De vera was able to loft a high shot to the top left of the goal to advance the Zips to Philadelphia. Meyer guessed right, but the shot was too high for him to do anything.
Up next for the Zips will be the winner of Wake Forest and Stanford. The Demon Deacons are the number 1 seed, the Cardinals are the 9th. If the Zips manage to win that game, they will advance to their 4th championship game.