Akron Gears Up For NCAA Quarterfinal Match vs. Cal Saturday

Updated 12/3/2010
Game preview courtesy of Akron Athletic Communications

AKRON, Ohio - The third-seeded University of Akron men's soccer team, which has been defeated just once during the regular run of play in its last 47 matches, will host sixth-seeded California Saturday at Lee R. Jackson Soccer Field in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament. The Zips and Golden Bears will kick off at 4 p.m. (ET)

NCAA TOURNAMENT Quarterfinals: No. 3 Seed Akron Zips (20-1-1) vs. No. 6 Seed California Golden Bears (14-2-3)
Saturday, Dec. 4
  • 4:00 p.m. (ET) | Lee R. Jackson Soccer Field Akron, Ohio
Radio: None. | Television: None. | Internet Stream: Zips Zone (Free) | Live Stats: GoZips.com

NCAA Tournament All-Access
  • General admission tickets are on sale now for Saturday's match and can be purchased for $10 (adult) and $5 (youth; ages 3-14). To purchase your tickets, go online via the ticketing page on GoZips.com, call 1-888-99-AKRON (25766) or stop by the ticket table on the day of the game.
  • GoZips.com will offer live stats as well as a live video stream, both free of charge.

Akron At The NCAA Tournament
  • The Zips will be competing in the NCAA quarterfinals for the second consecutive season - and fourth time in school history - Saturday. UA defeated Tulsa, 1-0, at Lee R. Jackson Soccer Field in the Elite Eight last year.
  • The Zips are currently competing in their 25th NCAA Tournament, dating back to 1961, where they own an all-time record of 14-23-3 (.388). Akron has fared significantly better since the arrival of fifth-year head coach Caleb Porter, the 2009 NSCAA National Coach of the Year, however with a 6-3-1 (.650) mark since 2006.
  • UA is 6-1-0 in NCAA Tournament games at home under Porter and has won six straight dating back to the 2008 season. The only team to defeat the Zips at home in the NCAA Tournament was South Florida in a 1-0, double-overtime heartbreaker during Porter's second season in 2007.
  • Akron is also 2-0 all-time in NCAA quarterfinal games at home and 2-1 overall. In addition to taking down Tulsa last season, UA defeated Penn State, 2-1, in overtime at Lee R. Jackson Soccer Field in 1986 in the Round of Eight.
  • UA is making its fourth straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament under Porter. The Zips have earned first-round byes all four years and have advanced to the Round of 16 in each of the last three.
  • Porter led Akron all the way to the national championship game in 2009 - marking the Zips' second ever appearance in the NCAA final. UA, which has never won a team national championship in any sport, also advanced to the final in 1986 where it was defeated by Duke, 1-0.
  • A win Saturday would send the Zips back to the College Cup for the second straight year and for the third time in school history.
  • Akron's No. 3 seed represents the second-highest designation achieved in school history and the sixth time the Zips have been seeded overall. UA was the No. 1 seed in 2009, No. 5 in 2008, No. 14 in 2007, No. 9 in 2005 and No. 15 in 2003.

About California
  • The sixth-seeded Golden Bears (14-2-3), champions of the PAC 10, advanced to the quarterfinals with a 2-0 victory over Brown last Sunday to match the school's deepest run at the NCAA Tournament.
  • Cal has a veteran squad led by seven seniors and brings a 6-0-2 road record to Akron Saturday. The Bears have yet to trail in a road match this season and are 3-0-1 against ranked-opponents on the road in 2010.
  • The Zips and Bears share just one common opponent in Indiana. Cal earned a 2-1, double-overtime victory in Bloomington in its first game of the season.
  • The Bears have played a number of close games this season as 11 of their 19 matches have gone into overtime and 10 have been decided by one goal. Cal is 6-2-3 in overtime games and 8-2-0 in contests decided by one goal.
  • Both of the Bears' losses came at home against Saint Mary's (1-2, 2OT) and then-ranked No. 13 UCLA (0-1, 2OT).
  • 25 players from Cal's 26-man roster are from California (reserve goalkeeper Justin Taillole is from Arizona). The Bears made one trip east this season (to the adidas IU Credit Union Classic in September) but have not have not left the west coast since.
  • Saturday's game will mark the first ever meeting between Akron and Cal.

Coach Talk
  • UA head coach Caleb Porter shared his thoughts on Saturday's match:
  • "Cal is a well coached and organized team with one of the top goalkeeper's in the country from what we hear. On the attacking side, they are also a technical team that looks to play, which should make for a quality match. They have a good record and have been in a lot of tight games against strong opponents. On the season they have only given up 14 goals and have been in 11 overtime matches, which shows they have been capable of grinding out results all year."
 
  • "Although I'm not sure they have seen an opponent that plays exactly like Akron and has as much talent as we do, over the last several years we have proven to be a very difficult team to play against especially for the first time. Our style of play is hard to prepare for until you actually experience it firsthand. The same goes for playing at Lee Jackson (Field). With the intimacy of our crowd on three and a half sides and the AK Rowdies on the berm, it creates an atmosphere for opponents to deal with that is unlike any other. For this game we are expecting a record crowd and I know our supporters will be extra motivated to help us finish the home schedule undefeated again."
 
  • "These are things that Cal will be well aware of and I expect Coach Grimes to have his team tactically organized and ready to give us their best shot. The bottom line is our team is on a mission right now to get to Santa Barbara and they want this national championship very badly. We are 90 minutes away from getting back to the College Cup for the second consecutive year and I am confident you will see a group that refuses to lose on Saturday."

Defending the Home Front
  • UA is unbeaten in its last 38 home matches (37-0-1), - including conference tournaments and postseason play - which is the longest active streak in the nation and matches the second-longest in NCAA history. With a win Saturday, the Zips would match Tulsa, which won 39 straight home games from 1988-92, for the NCAA record.
  • But that's not the only milestone Akron is chasing as it has now won 27 consecutive matches (including conference tournaments and postseason play) at home, dating back to 2008. This is tied for third on the NCAA's all-time list.
  • With a win Saturday, the Zips would move into sole possession of third place in the record book.
  • The Zips are 12-0 at home this season where they have out-scored opponents 37-6.
  • Akron is 55-2-3 (.942) in 60 games at Lee Jackson Field under Caleb Porter. The last team to defeat the Zips on their home field was South Florida (1-0, 2OT) in the second round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament.
  • UA is 7-0 against top-25 teams (NSCAA) at home since the start of the 2009 season including postseason matches. The Zips defeated No. 2 Tulsa (4-0) and No. 9 Creighton (1-0) by a combined score of 5-0 this season.

Zips Reset
  • Behind a pair of second-half goals, both coming in a two-minute span, third-seeded Akron took down 14th-seeded Indiana, 2-1, last Sunday in front of 3,225 fans at Lee R. Jackson Soccer Field to advance to the NCAA quarterfinals for the second straight year.
  • Leading the charge for UA was freshman striker Darren Mattocks, who played a key part in both Akron goals against the Hoosiers (10-8-2).
  • A give-and-go between Mattocks and Michael Nanchoff produced the game's first goal in the 53rd minute. After receiving a pass from Nanchoff amid a cluster of defenders, Mattocks delivered a quick touch pass back to Nanchoff, who slipped the ball past IU goalkeeper Luis Soffner just inside the far post to give the Zips a 1-0 lead.
  • Then, in a flash, Mattocks made the Hoosiers pay for a mishap just one minute and eight seconds later when he intercepted a short pass from Soffner intended for an Indiana defender and beat the keeper for his team-leading 18th goal of the year.

Mattocks On The Attack
  • First-year striker Darren Mattocks continues to establish himself as one of the most dangerous scorers in the nation. Among freshmen nationwide, Mattocks, who has tallied 18 goals in 22 matches (0.82 goals per game), trails just one player in scoring - Michigan's Soony Saad, who has 19 goals in 22 games (0.86).
  • Among all scorers, Mattocks is tied for third nationally with 18 goals, one behind Michigan's Soony Saad and two behind Division I leader Corey Hertzog. Hertzog's Penn State team was eliminated from the NCAA Tournament last weekend by Maryland in a 1-0 decision.
  • Mattocks has been on an incredible run lately with six goals and two assists in his last four games - all coming during the postseason. The Jamaican striker scored a goal and assisted another in UA's MAC semifinal game against Buffalo then scored two goals in back-to-back games in the MAC Final against Western Michigan and the NCAA Tournament Second Round match-up with West Virginia. The freshman stayed hot with a goal and an assist against Indiana last weekend.
  • To put Mattocks' achievement into perspective, former UA players and current Major League Soccer stars Steve Zakuani, who was a finalist for the Hermann Trophy in 2008, and Teal Bunbury, who won the award in 2009, each recorded six goals during their entire freshman campaigns with the Zips.
  • Mattocks' current goal total has already surpassed Bunbury's tally from a year ago, which led all Division I scorers.
  • Moreover, many of Mattocks' goals this season have been game changers as he has netted a team-high six game-winners. He was denied what would have been a seventh game-winner at Ohio State when the Buckeyes tied the match with two seconds left in regulation.
  • Mattocks enjoyed a torrid streak from the end of September to the middle of October when he scored nine goals in an eight-game stretch, including game-winners in back-to-back contests at Oakland and at Northern Illinois.

Dominant Soccer
  • The Zips entered the week ranked No. 2 in the nation in scoring offense (2.64 goals/game) and No. 4 in goals-against-average (0.54). They are one of just two schools in the country to be ranked in the top eight for both categories. Maryland is the top scoring team in the nation (2.68) and is tied with UA for fourth in goals-against-avaerage (0.54).
  • Akron has excelled at drawing first blood in games under Caleb Porter. In fact, the Zips have scored first 83 times in 110 all-time games (75.5 percent) since 2006 and are 81-1-1 (.982) when doing so.
  • Along those lines, the Zips have trailed in just four games this season (at Ohio State, at Penn State, at Cleveland State and at Hartwick) for a combined total of 28 minutes and 23 seconds.
  • Akron, which has yet to trail at home in 2010, trailed the Buckeyes for 8:25 before earning a 2-2 draw and the Nittany Lions for 1:04 before claiming a 2-1 double-overtime victory. The Zips then trailed Cleveland State twice for a combined 9:29 before falling 2-1 on Oct. 30 and trailed Hartwick for 9:25 before scoring two goals to defeat the Hawks on Nov. 6.
  • In fact, UA has trailed in just six games since the start of the 2009 season - a span of 47 games and 4,366 minutes and counting - for a combined total of 72 minutes and seven seconds. Coincidentally, half of those games have been against Hartwick.

Did You Know?
  • Including postseason contests, Akron is 15-6-4 (.680) all-time against top-25 teams (NSCAA) under head coach Caleb Porter, including 13-2-3 (.806) since 2008.
  • The Zips are 81-1-1 (.982) when scoring first and 57-0-0 (1.000) when leading at halftime since 2006. UA is also 65-0-1 (.992) when scoring two or more goals in a game during that time.
  • Since 2008, UA has posted an overall record of 60-4-6 (.900) and a 16-0-1 (.970) mark in MAC play while winning the last three league regular-season and tournament championships. During that time, Akron has posted 46 shutouts in 70 contests while allowing more than one goal just five times.
  • Akron has out-scored its opponents 58-12 this season, including a 27-3 margin in the first half.
  • 12 different players have scored at least one goal for the Zips in 2010. On top of that, five have contributed four or more goals.
  • Nine different players have contributed game-winning goals this fall. Mattocks leads the team with six.
  • Akron matched an NCAA record with 23 consecutive wins in 2009 and advanced to the national championship game for the second time in school history.