Akron Seeded 5th for the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship Tournament

 

Akron men’s soccer team gathered at the James A. Rhodes Arena for the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship Selection Show with students and faculty. Photo Courtesy of Akron Athletics.

 

The 2017 NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship Selection took place Nov. 13 that featured the Mid-American Conference Champions, the University of Akron men’s soccer team. The Zips earned a No. fifth national seed and will host the winner between the Washington/Seattle match in the second-round action on Sunday, Nov. 19 at Cub Cadet Field.

“You wanted a top four, you wanted the three home games but it’s a really good seed,” head coach Jared Embick said on the draw. “When you break down the bracket, there’s a lot of familiar teams in there that we have played and done well against. If we have the chance to play them, we can take that belief into the game and use that as a motivating factor of what we can accomplish here.”

Akron will make its 11th consecutive and 32nd overall tournament appearance this campaign. Akron is one of four Division I programs that have qualified for the NCAA Championships in eleven seasons, Indiana, Maryland, and Virginia.

The Zips look promising coming off their MAC Championship victory over Western Michigan. The team has won ten consecutive matches, their last loss dating back to early October against the Broncos, 1-0.

“We’ve all been here before,” Senior forward Sam Gainford said after the selection. “I need to learn by example and we have a lot of seniors here on the team that knows what needs done.”

Gainford and fellow Zip forward Stuart Holthusen have scored a total of seventeen goals this season, ten of those goals being in their last five matches.

The first round of games for the Tournament, including Seattle and Washington, will take place on Thursday, Nov. 16.

According to gozips.com, tickets are available now by calling or texting the Akron ticket office at 888-99-AKRON (25766) or visiting The C.P. and Cornelia S. Chima Athletics Ticket Office at InfoCision Stadium-Summa Field (located at 375 E. Exchange Street, near Gate 1 at the southwest corner of the venue, at the corner of E. Exchange and S. Union streets) Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Season ticket holders can purchase their same seats for the NCAA games by calling our texting the ticket office.

Prices for all NCAA games are $15 for reserved, $10 for General Admission and we have a family four pack in general admission for $35.

Seven hundred and fifty free tickets will be provided to University of Akron students with a valid Zip Card (limit one per Zip Card). Tickets can be picked up at the gate on Sunday with a valid Zip Card.

Akron Men’s Soccer wins 14th Mid-American Conference

 

Photo Courtesy of Akron Athletics

 

The University of Akron men’s soccer won its sixth straight and 14th overall Mid-American Conference Tournament title this Sunday after defeating the host of the tournament, Western Michigan, 3-1.

Akron is expected to earn at least a top-eight national seed come Monday when the NCAA reveals its tournament pairings at 1 p.m.

Akron outshot Western Michigan, 17-10 and 6-5 with shots on goal. Senior and Most Valuable Player of the tournament, Stuart Holthusen, would open Akron’s tally when senior Niko De Vera pass the ball into the box to Holthusen and tap it into the back of the net. The goal marked Holthusen 10th goal of the season.

Just as it looked that Akron would head into the intermission with a 1-0 lead, Western Michigan’s Ben Thornton brought the Broncos level, scoring with thirteen seconds left in the half.

In the second half, Senior Sam Gainford scored the go-ahead goal in the 56 minute, and Manuel Cordeiro added an insurance goal in the 78th minute to see Akron seal the win.

Akron has won 10 straight games since their 1-0 loss to Western Michigan last October and look to be heating up heading into the NCAA Tournament.

There will be a watch party for the NCAA selection show in the Tommy Evans Lounge at James A. Rhodes Arena with doors opening at 12:30 p.m. There will be free food for first 100 students, giveaways, and prizes for fans in attendance.

Preview: Akron Men’s Soccer paired with SIU Edwardsville for their first MAC Championship Game

Photo Courtesy of MACtion twitter account

The University of Akron men’s soccer enters the Mid-American Conference Tournament in Kalamazoo, Michigan as the second seed of the tournament. The Zips open their championship play against third-seeded SIU Edwardsville on Friday, Nov. 10 at 11 a.m.

The two advancing teams will square off for the MAC Championship on Sunday, Nov.12, at 1 p.m.

The Zips finished the regular season with a record of 14-3-1, winning their last eight games of the season straight, which included a 3-1 victory over SIU Edwardsville.

Key players are now stepping up for the Zips, coming off the back side of the regular season. Senior Stuart Holthusen, who scored six goals in his last 3 games. Senior Sam Gainford finished the season with six goals and four assists.

“We say, in the locker room, it’s Stewie’s time of year,” said Gainford on Holthusen’s end of season performance. “He’s proven it and once again he came to life. He’s on fire.”

The Zip’s defensive effort off the ball has been the main component to how Akron has only allowed an average one goal for the opposition.

“I think it says when we play our game and we pass the ball well, we control it, we press the ball when we lose it, that we’re very difficult to create chances against,” said head coach Jared Embick about the team. “That’s always been our success here; how well we are with the ball, how well we press. You know, the other team really struggles to create rhythm and chances against us and leads to us get some shutouts.”

Kent State Wins 2017 Mens MAC Championship


The Kent State Golden Flashes defeated the Akron Zips to win the MAC Men’s Basketball Championship, 70-65. Kent State led for most of the game, but Akron came within striking distance on multiple occasions.

The Flashes got out to a quick 9-3 lead thanks to a quick 5 points from Jaylin Walker (#23), and another 4 from Jimmy Hall (#35). Kent state got into early foul trouble, with 5 fouls overall just 9 minutes into the game. De La Rosa (#1) accounted for 2 of those fouls. Akron played from behind for most of the first half, and it wasn’t until 3:30 remaining that the Zips took the lead. Josh Williams hit a clutch 3 bringing the fans back into the game with a score of 23-21. Kent state quickly answered with back to back field goals to retake the lead. Both teams traded shots in the last minute of the first half, heading into the locker rooms with a score of 27-24 Kent state.

Both teams shot under 45% from the field during the 1st half. Kent State lead Akron in points in the paint and 2nd chance opportunities. Akron’s bench made an impact, scoring 8 of the Zips 24 points. Neither team had much luck from the 3 point line, with both teams combining for 2 3-pointers in 13 attempts. MAC Player of the Year Isaiah Johnson led the Zips in the 1st half with 10 points, while Jaylin Walker and Jimmy Hall lead the Golden Flashes with 11 and 10 points respectively.

Kent State came out hot in the 2nd half, taking a 36-28 lead. Less than 2 minutes later, Akron narrowed the lead to 34-36. Jaylin Walker responded with only the 3rd 3 pointer of the game, with Kent State leading 39-34. Akron finally tied up the game again with 11:15 remaining in the second half. For the next few minutes, the lead changed 3 times, with neither team ever more than 2 points ahead of the other. With 4:24 remaining, Kent State had an 8 point lead thanks to an 10-0 run. The Flashes held unto their lead despite the Zips best efforts, who could only get within 3. Kent State won a hard-fought victory, 70-65. Isaiah Johnson and Jimond Ivey both finished with 24 points for the Zips.

A huge part of Kent State’s upset victory can be attributed to their 63.9% field goal completion percentage in the second half. Jaylin Walker finished with 30 points, 6 rebounds, and was voted MAC Tournament MVP. Jimmy Hall finished with 18 points and led both teams with 10 rebounds. They will move onto the NCAA Tournament, and the bracket will be released tomorrow.

Akron Head Coach Keith Dambrot gave Kent State credit for making so many big plays in the last 8 minutes, and congratulated Kent State Head Coach Rob Senderoff for turning their team into championship quality. Rob Senderoff accredited the win to their shooting percentage and also their low number of turnovers, only committing 6.

Here’s what Coach Dambrot had to say:

 

Zips lose heartbreaker to Buffalo, 64-61

The University of Akron men’s basketball team fell to the Buffalo Bulls, 64-61, on Saturday night in the Mid-American Conference Championship Game. The Zips are now unlikely to make the NCAA Tournament.

The Akron crowd was in the majority at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, and they were rowdy from the beginning, even starting chants 27 minutes before tip-off. A tip-off which Zips’ forward Kwan Cheatham Jr. won. Cheatham Jr. missed the game’s first shot, and Buffalo’s Lamonte Bearden came down and finished a transition layup to start the MAC Championship Game scoring. Akron would get on the board two possessions later, with a pair of Aaron Jackson free throws.

The Zips got off to a slow start offensively, missing their first five field goals. In fact, each starter missed one shot before Antino Jackson connected from deep 3:05 into the half to give the Zips their first made shot from the field and tie the game at five.

Buffalo went on to score the next seven points, finished by a Willie Conner 3-pointer. Akron came back to end the run with a very unusual possession. Jake Kretzer missed from deep, and McAdams attempted to tip it in. The attempt failed, but Isaiah “Big Dog” Johnson was on the other side for an easy tip-in of his own. Akron’s struggles continued, however, and they trailed Buffalo 14-7 after the second TV Timeout. At this point in the game the Zips were just 1-8 on 3-point attempts and were outrebounded 10-5.

Buffalo’s shots were falling early on. CJ Massinburg came out with a trey to extend the lead, but Cheatham Jr. came right back with one of his own. On the very next possession Massinburg made another contested 3-pointer, then followed it up with a pair of free throws. The Zips fought back hard, with back-to-back-to-back baskets. First, Johnson found Jimond Ivey for a wide open layup, and Johnson followed it up by finding his own way to the hoop. Finally, after a Noah Robotham steal, Antino Jackson buried a transition 3-pointer to cut the Buffalo lead to 24-17.

After a Conner layup, Akron’s leading scorer, Isaiah Johnson, came back with two straight post baskets. Robotham came back with a layup of his own to bring the Buffalo lead down to three. The Akron crowd got right back into the game, back to the deafening levels from the opening tip.

However, the Zips’ outside shooting continued to struggle, allowing Buffalo to push the lead back to six with another Massinburg 3-pointer. Johnson came right back to cut the lead to four, and force Buffalo coach Nate Oats to use a timeout and quiet the Akron faithful. With 3:13 left in the half, the Zips were just 3-13 from deep.

Several possessions later Cheatham Jr. came up with a huge block down low, with was followed up by a Josh Williams 3-pointer to cut the lead to one. It was the closest the game had been since the 3:05 mark of the first half. Massinburg followed with his fifth field goal, but Cheatham Jr. shot right back with a slam dunk that sent the Zips fans into a frenzy. After a pair of Buffalo free throws, Robotham missed a 3-pointer, but quickly stole the ball from Massinburg. Robotham then found Williams for a wide open 3-pointer with just ten seconds left, and the game went into halftime tied at 33.

Coach Keith Dambrot’s team ended the half on an impressive 23-11 run. In the half, Akron made just five out of 17 shots from deep. In contrast, Buffalo made five out of 12 treys. On the other hand, the Zips made eight out of 14 shots inside the 3-point arc, while the Bulls made only six of 18. Buffalo also dominated Akron on the boards, outrebounding them 23-14 in the first half.

CJ Massinburg led all players after one half with 15 points and three 3-pointers. Also for Buffalo, Willie Conner had seven points and Lamonte Bearden finished with four points, and he led the team with six rebounds and three assists. Johnson led the Zips in four major categories with ten points, four rebounds, three assists, and five made field goals. Johnson only missed one shot in the first half. Also, Williams and Antino Jackson tallied six points, Cheatham Jr. had five points with one block, and Robotham had two points, two assists, and a game-high four steals.

Akron struggled to score early once again, as Buffalo went on a 10-2 run to give them a 43-35 lead. That forced Coach Dambrot to put Johnson back in the game with 15:21 left. Things didn’t change much early though, as Johnson missed his first shot, then Blake Hamilton converted a 3-point play. On the next Akron possession, Johnson committed a turnover and then a foul. CJ Massinburg then came right back with his fourth 3-pointer of the game to push the Buffalo lead to 14. Josh Williams ended the 14-0 run with his third 3-pointer of the ball game.

After a big defensive stop, Kretzer came back with a heavily contested 3-pointer to cut the lead to single digits. On the ensuing Buffalo possession the Zips showed their poor rebounding once again by allowing three straight offensive rebounds. They did, however, keep the Bulls from scoring on the trip. Several possession later Bulls’ big man Nick Perkins stepped out and hit a 3-pointer, but McAdams responded with a deep ball of his own, his first of the game.

On the next Bulls possession it looked like Conner had made another 3-pointer. But after review it showed that it was after the shot clock expired. Kretzer came back with a 3-pointer to cut the lead to five. After a Buffalo basket the Zips kept the shooting parade going as McAdams made another trey. McAdams came right back on the next trip and buried his third 3-pointer of the half to make the score 54-53, and put the Akron crowd on their feet as Buffalo used a timeout. Seven minutes and forty seconds remained in the Mid-American Conference Championship Game.

The Zips came right back on the offensive, as Cheatham Jr. found Johnson in the post, and he finessed his way to two points. The Zips had their first lead of the ball game. Bearden, Buffalo’s star sophomore guard, scored several possessions later to retake the lead by one. After a Cheatham Jr. turnover Bearden came right back with a transition layup that pushed the lead to three. Akron called a timeout with 3:39 remaining.

Johnson was stopped after the timeout, but senior leader Kretzer took a charge to give Akron the ball, and Antino Jackson hit a 3-pointer to tie it on the ensuing possession. Following a big Johnson block, Jackson made an NBA distance 3-pointer to give Akron their biggest lead of the game. After Buffalo attempted the same but missed, the Bulls got their own rebound once again. Blake Hamilton made the Zips pay with a deep shot to tie the game right back at 61 with 1:36 left.

After a Buffalo timeout, the Zips lost the ball in a jump ball, with possession going to Buffalo with 1:12 left. That’s when Antino Jackson stepped up big by drawing a charging foul. However, Johnson couldn’t convert, and Buffalo took over. The Bulls advanced the ball to half court and called a timeout with 29.1 seconds on the game clock and 17 seconds to shoot.

The Bulls went to Bearden, and he was fouled by Jackson, but luckily they had fouls to give. It did, however, erase the shot clock. Then with 1.8 seconds left, junior Blake Hamilton stuck the dagger into the Zips season with a 3-pointer on an assist from Perkins. After video review, the officials put .2 seconds on the clock, giving Akron two full seconds to shoot.

McAdams threw the ball inbounds, but his three-quarter court pass was intercepted by Hamilton, and the Buffalo celebration was underway.

CJ Massinburg led all players with 18 points. Massinburg made four of six 3-pointers, and he also grabbed seven rebounds and forced two steals. Blake Hamilton contributed a double-double for Buffalo with 14 points and 11 rebounds, and he made three 3-pointers. Finally, Lamonte Bearden scored 11 points, grabbed nine rebounds, and dished out six assists.

Akron was led by Antino Jackson, who scored 14 points and made four 3-pointers on seven attempts. Big man Isaiah Johnson figured in for 12 points, six rebounds, five assists, and two blocks. Johnson made just one of five shots in the second half. Freshman Josh Williams made three 3-pointers for a total of nine points. Finally, Kwan Cheatham Jr. scored five points and added five rebounds while Noah Robotham added two points, three rebounds, four assists, and five steals.

It was a sad ending for two seniors that have played so well for the Zips for the past four seasons, but they both played very well. Reggie McAdams went 3-5 from deep for a total of nine points and four rebounds, while Jake Kretzer shot 2-6 from beyond the arc for six points. We expect some form of postseason play for the Zips, but these two certainly earned another run at the Final Four.

In the end the Zips shot 13-33 from deep, but the game was decided by rebounding. Akron was outrebounded 43-31, and they allowed Buffalo to grab 13 offensive rebounds.