Men's Soccer Set To Begin NCAA Title Quest Sunday Versus Michigan

Updated 11/17/2012

 

AKRON, Ohio – The fifth-seeded University of Akron men's soccer team will host Michigan in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field. The Zips and Wolverines will kick off at 4:30 p.m.
 
Akron begins the NCAA Tournament having won its last 14 matches and is unbeaten in its last 15. During its current win streak, UA has out-scored its opponents, 34-1.
 
The Zips are 9-0-1 on their home field this season and have been defeated just once at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field in the last five years. Since 2008, UA has gone 54-1-6 (.934) at home, including a record of 7-0-1 during the NCAA Tournament.
 
Match #21: No. 5 Akron Zips (17-1-2) vs. Michigan Wolverines (11-9-1)
Date/Time: Nov. 18, 2012  •  4:30 p.m. (ET)
Venue: FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field  •  Akron, Ohio
Match Notes: NCAA Tournament Second Round: Akron vs. Michigan (PDF)
Televison: None  •  Radio: None
Live Stats: NCAA.com  •  Video Stream: NCAA.com
 
Ticket Information
• Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased on-line at GoZips.com/tickets, on the phone at 1-888-99-AKRON (25766) or by visiting the C.P. and Cornelia S. Chima Athletics Ticket Office at InfoCision Stadium – Summa Field (located at the southwest corner of the venue, near Gate 1, at the corner of East Exchange and South Union streets).
• Limited reserved tickets – both chair back and bleacher back seats – are available for $15. General admission ($10) and UA student tickets ($1) are also on sale.
 
Akron At The NCAA Tournament
• The Zips will be making their 27th all-time appearance in the NCAA postseason Sunday. It is the sixth consecutive season they have qualified for the 48-team national playoff.  
• Seventh-year head coach Caleb Porter, who owns an all-time record of 10-4-2 at the NCAA Tournament, has led the Zips to the Round of 16 in each of the last four seasons and the NCAA final in back-to-back seasons in 2009 and 2010.
• Akron captured the school's first team national championship in any sport in 2010 with a 1-0 victory over top-seeded Louisville one year after falling in a penalty-kick shootout (3-2) to Virginia.  
• Since 2006, UA is 7-1-1 (.833) at home during the NCAA Tournament under Coach Porter. One would have to go all the way back to the 2007 season to find the Zips' last defeat on their home field in NCAA postseason play when UA came up short in a 1-0, double-overtime decision against South Florida in the NCAA's second round.
• In being awarded a No. 5-seed last Monday, the Zips earned a first-round bye at the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in the last six seasons. It is the second time they have been a No. 5 seed and the seventh time they have been seeded overall since 2003.
• Also seeded in the Zips' region are No. 4 Connecticut (15-3-1), No. 12 Creighton (15-3-2) and No. 13 New Mexico (16-3-1). The remaining top-four seeds went to No. 1 Notre Dame (16-3-1), No. 2 Maryland (17-1-2) and No. 3 Georgetown (17-3-1). The 2012 College Cup will be played at Regions Field in Hoover, Ala., on Dec. 7 and 9.
 
Postseason Experience
• The Zips' senior trio of Chad Barson, Scott Caldwell and David Meves have appeared in all 13 of Akron's NCAA Tournament matches during the past three seasons, posting a record of 9-2-2.  
• In those 13 games – against the best competition – those three players have helped the Zips record six shutouts while holding teams to one or fewer goal 10 times. Furthermore, both  Barson and Meves came up with huge defensive stops in the final seconds of the 2010 national championship win against Louisville to preserve UA's win.
• Caldwell, the Most Outstanding Offensive Player of the 2010 College Cup, has scored four goals in his last eight NCAA Tournament games, including the game-winning strike in the 2010 NCAA Championship match.
 
Akron vs. The Big Ten
• The Zips swept the regular-season schedule against the Big Ten Conference for the third time in four years in 2012, posting a record of 5-0.
• Moreover, Akron did so in convincing fashion – earning shutout victories against Indiana (1-0), Penn State (2-0), Michigan (1-0), Ohio State (1-0) and Michigan State (1-0) – while out-scoring foes by a count of 6-0.
• Akron is 22-6-5 (.7342) all-time versus teams from the Big Ten under Coach Porter, who played and coached at Indiana prior to arriving on campus in 2006. During that time, the Zips have out-scored their competition, 56-22.
• UA's record against the league has been even more impressive recently as the Zips are a combined 18-2-1 (.881) versus the Big Ten since 2009.
• Coincidentally, Michigan is one of just two Big Ten schools (Michigan State being the other) to defeat UA since 2009. The Wolverines pulled out a 1-0, overtime win in Ann Arbor in October of 2011.
 
About Michigan
• The Wolverines have won six of their last seven matches and enter play with an overall record of 11-9-1 after rallying for a 3-1 win over Niagara in Thursday's NCAA First Round match-up.
• Despite being out-shot 16-1 in the first half, the Purple Eagles jumped out to a 1-0 lead with a goal in the 59th minute. But U-M's Fabio Pereira bagged a hat trick in less than seven minutes to rally the Wolverines. Two of Pereira's goals were by way of penalty kicks.
• The Wolverines are competing at the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in program history where they own an overall record of 8-4.
• Michigan, which is ranked 27th in the NCAA Ratings Percentage Index (RPI), went 1-5 versus nationally-ranked teams during the regular season. U-M picked up its lone win (2-1) at then-ranked No. 11 Indiana on Oct. 19.
• The Wolverines defeated Wisconsin (1-0) and Northwestern (3-0) at the Big Ten Tournament to advance to the championship match where they suffered a 2-1 overtime defeat to Michigan State.
 
Michigan Series Notes
• Sunday's match will represent the 13th all-time meeting between the Zips and Wolverines in a relatively new series that began in 2003. UA owns an 8-4-0 edge against U-M, including a 1-0 victory at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field during the regular season.
• Aodhan Quinn found the net in the 14th minute to lift the Zips to the win against the Wolverines on Oct. 16. Akron out-shot Michigan 24-8 for the match, including a 10-2 margin on goal.
• The last time the two teams faced off in the NCAA Tournament came in 2010 at the NCAA College Cup. Michigan jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead in the national semifinal but Perry Kitchen found the equalizer just before the break and Kofi Sarkodie headed in the game-winner off a free kick in the 74th minute to send the Zips to the national championship match.
• In all, the Zips and Wolverines have met twice before in the NCAA Tournament. Michigan earned a 2-1 victory over Akron in a first-round match-up in Ann Arbor during the 2004 season.
• Akron is 6-0 all-time versus Michigan at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field where it has out-scored the Wolverines 13-2.
 
Zips Reset
• After securing their eighth-consecutive Mid-American Conference regular-season title in October, the Zips made it a clean sweep by picking up 2-0 wins over Bowling Green (semifinals) and Northern Illinois (final) in the MAC Tournament last weekend. UA defeated the Falcons and Huskies to capture their ninth MAC Tournament title since 1994.
• The two wins also extended the Zips' conference unbeaten streak to 47 games, which set an NCAA record. Since the start of the 2007 season, UA has gone 44-0-3 against MAC opponents, including postseason play.
• Scott Caldwell, who was named Top Drawer Soccer's National Player of the Week Monday, assisted all four Zips' goals during the tournament.  The senior Hermann Trophy candidate, who is also one of 10 national finalists for the Senior CLASS Award, leads the Zips with 10 assists on the season to go with a career-high nine goals.
• It was also a big weekend for sophomore striker Saad Abdul-Salaam, who recorded the first assist of his career against Bowling Green and then found the back of the net for the first time against Northern Illinois. Abdul-Salaam's second-half goal against NIU would prove to be the game-winner.
• In a weekend of firsts, sophomore Wil Trapp also bagged the first goal of his career in game-winning fashion. His brilliant 30-plus yard strike broke a scoreless tie in the 40th minute against BGSU.
• By holding Bowling Green and Northern Illinois scoreless, the Zips extended their consecutive shutout streak to six games and have allowed just one goal in their last 15 contests.
 
No Place Like Home
• Historically speaking, there has been no better home field advantage in the country than the one enjoyed by the Zips. With a 5-0 victory over Cleveland State on Aug. 27, 2011, Akron surpassed Tulsa for the NCAA's all-time standard for the longest home unbeaten streak (40 matches). The Golden Hurricane set the original mark of 39 games from 1988-'92.
• The Zips would remain unbeaten on their home field for eight more matches (6-0-2) in 2011 to push the record to 48 contests (44-0-4) before Michigan State ended the remarkable run with a 1-0 victory on Nov. 2, 2011. During the historic stretch, Akron out-scored its opponents 119-21 at home while posting 31 shutouts.
• UA is 9-0-1 at home this season where they have out-scored opponents, 26-1. West Virginia (Oct. 20) has been the only opposing team to score a goal at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field in 2012, spanning 920 minutes of play.  
• Furthermore, the Zips have yet to trail in a home game in 2012 and have trailed at home just six times during the last five seasons for a total of 82 minutes and 43 seconds.
 
The Department of Defense
• With a possession-dominated style of soccer and a swarming defense, the Zips have limited opponents to very few scoring opportunities in 2012. In fact, UA has held its opponents without a single shot on goal six times this season and has allowed three or fewer attempts on frame 14 times in 20 matches.
• Akron leads the nation with 16 shutouts – including eight straight from Sept. 13 to Oct. 16 – and a shutout percentage of .800 (16 shutouts in 20 matches).
• UA, which has allowed one goal in its last 1,361:30 of play, has allowed just six goals all season; three coming in a short-handed loss at Notre Dame on Sept. 9. The Zips enter the week tied with North Carolina for the lowest goal-against-average (0.29) in Division I.
• Akron's 16 shutouts represent the second-highest single-season total in school history and are just three shy of the program's standard (19), set in 2009.
• Including their eight-game shutout streak, which ranks as the 10th-longest in NCAA Division I history, the Zips compiled 713 scoreless minutes over a 10-game period from Sept. 7 to Oct. 20.
• Since 2006, Akron has shut out its opponent 98 times in 156 contests – or 62.8 percent of the time – while limiting opponents to one goal or less 139 times (89.1 percent).
 
Akron On The Attack
• The Zips, who have been shut out just once this season, are ranked eighth in the nation in goals scored (43) and 11th in scoring offense (2.15 goals/match).
• Individually, 13 different Zips have scored at least one goal this season and 10 different players have contributed game-winners. This balanced distribution is a stark contrast to last year's club which was led by future Major League Soccer draftee Darren Mattocks. As a sophomore, Mattocks netted 21 of the Zips' 48 goals on the season (43.8 percent). Caldwell was second on the team with six goals in 2011.
• Reinaldo Brenes (10 G, 2 A), Scott Caldwell (9 G, 10 A) and Eric Stevenson (6 G, 5 A) pace the Akron attack. In particular, it has been a breakout season for Brenes, who entered the year with just one goal in his first two years at UA. The junior Costa Rican has been limited by injury since Nov. 3 however and is considered day-to-day.
• With one more goal, Caldwell will become the first Akron player since 1998 (Michael Apple) to record double-digit goals and assists in a single season.
• A key to the Zips' success this season and in years past has been their ability to draw first blood. Akron has out-scored opponents 23-1 in the first half in 2012 and is now 112-3-4 (.958) when scoring first since 2006. Moreover, UA is 81-2-2 (.965) when it leads at halftime and 90-1-3 (.973) when it scores two or more goals during that time.
• Along those lines, Akron has scored 18 goals in the first 30 minutes of matches this season, including seven in the first 15 minutes of play. Conversely, the only school to find the net in the first half against the Zips in 2012 was Creighton, which netted a goal in the 24th minute but settled for a draw when Alfred Koroma recorded the equalizer in the 57th minute.
• Akron has also had success scoring early in the second half of matches this fall with eight goals coming in the first 15 minutes after the break. In total, the Zips have out-scored foes 20-5 after halftime.
 
 
Courtesy of Akron Sports Information Department