For the second year in a row the No. 3 seed University of Akron men's soccer squad has lost a heartbreaker in the opening round of the MAC Tournament, falling 2-1 to sixth seed Buffalo. The Zips finish the season at 7-7-3.
Akron dominated a scoreless first half, controlling the ball and playing a majority of the game on the Buffalo half of the field. A stingy Buffalo defense did not allow the Zips to create many scoring opportunities as the Bulls pressured man-to-man when the Zips were in front of the net.
After 70 minutes of play and still no score, Buffalo took a surprising 1-0 lead at 71:09 on a goal from Tim Songer. Songer went one-on-one with Akron's Troy Schmidt (Wooster) and managed to beat him, slipping the ball past Akron keeper Kyle Milligan (Independence/Hudson).
Not ready to go down without a fight, the Zips answered back with a goal of their own at 76:50 from Matt Boswell (Akron/Hoban). Off a corner kick the Zips passed the ball back. A wild kick of the ball sent it airborne and Boswell knocked it in. It was Boswell's fourth goal of the season and one of his team-leading three shots on the night.
Akron had two prime opportunities to win the game in the waning minutes but was unable to capitalize. Boswell found an open Orjan Bjaneso (Bergen, Norway), whose header from two feet out sailed directly into the hands of Buffalo goalkeeper Brian Wozniak. A few ticks later, Chris Gnandt dished off to Boswell, but his shot sailed just wide of the net.
It appeared the game was headed to overtime when Songer again found himself in a one-on-one situation with Milligan and he put away the game-winning goal at 88:06. There was a bit of controversy with less than a minute to go in the game when on an Akron kick the referee did not stop the clock as Akron asked for the allotted 10-yard cushion and the Buffalo players did not comply. After almost 40 seconds ticked off the clock, Buffalo lined up and Akron took the kick, which bounced off a defender's leg.
This is the second year in a row that the Zips have faced disappointment in the first round of the MAC Tournament. Last year as the No. 1 seed, Akron lost to eighth seed Western Michigan, 2-1.
Akron 0 1 1
Buffalo 0 2 2
UB: Tim Songer 71:09
UA: Matt Boswell 76:50
UB: Tim Songer 88:06
SHOTS CORNER KICKS
UA 9 UA 7
UB 11 UB 2