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Akron to play North Carolina in national semifinal

By Michael Beaven Published: December 8, 2009

Here is some additional information following the University of Akron 1-0 win over Tulsa in an NCAA Tournament quarterfinal men’s soccer game:
UA, ranked No. 1 in the country for nearly two months and seeded first, will play fifth-seed North Carolina on Friday at 7:30 p.m. in a national semifinal game in Cary, N.C.
Virginia and Wake Forest will meet in the other semifinal at 5 p.m. The four teams are playing for the College Cup
Sophomore defender Kofi Sarkodie scored a first-half goal off an assist from junior midfielder Blair Gavin to help the Zips (23-0-0) defeat eighth-seeded Tulsa (15-5-2) before a Lee Jackson Field record crowd of 4,254 fans who braved below-freezing temperatures.
The bleachers in front of the press box, the student section on the hill behind the east goal and the temporary bleachers set up behind the west goal were full and the atmosphere was amazing. It was cold, but it was fun.
Akron coach Caleb Porter
“I am proud that we get to go and showcase our program. I am excited to play quality opponents. It starts with North Carolina, who plays in one of the top conferences in the country, on Friday.”
''It is important to not forget what we are in the College Cup to do and that is to win a national championship. We are not satisfied with where we are at now. We went into this year wanting to win a national championship. We will enjoy this experience, but we are there for business and we are there to win it.'' 
''The common thread of championship teams is the ability to individually and collectively defend better than any other team and we are able to do that.''
''I hope people will remember this game. This was special. This is the biggest crowd in the history of the program by over a thousand. I am also happy my seniors could win their final game at home.''
''This season is not done. I told the guys they tied the record today and that I am hoping they break it. I think it's ironic that this team is the one that tied the 1997 team. I also talked to [former Indiana] coach [Jerry] Yeagley. He was excited. He said to me if anyone was going to tie that streak, he was happy it was someone connected with IU.''
“Kofi is an outstanding defensemen but he is also a threat to come forward in that kind of situation. It was a great play and a great shot by him.”
“University of Akron soccer has always had a special niche in this community. That was one of the aspects that made this job so attractive when I came here. Our fans are great. They are always very supportive. It was really nice to be able to give more of them the opportunity to see this game.”
“I think we’ll be more represented than you might think. I think you’ll see Akron people coming out of the woodwork and finding a way to be there, whether it’s alumni, fans or students. We have very loyal fans and a good following.”
''This was a typical NCAA Tournament-type game. It's not always a dominating performance in the NCAAs. When you start to get deeper and deeper, the margin of error gets slimmer and slimmer. You are playing better teams and Tulsa is a very good team.''
Zips sophomore Kofi Sarkodie
''It feels great. I am glad I came here. Making the College Cup feels amazing.''
''I found myself forward and Blair had great vision and slipped the ball through to me. I just hit the ball and was fortunate enough for it to go in. I was confident that the ball was going to go in. I knew I struck it well and the goalkeeper would have to make a spectacular save to stop it.''
Zips junior Blair Gavin
''I saw Kofi, he was kind of looking back at me and I played it into him. He made a spectacular play to finish it off.''
Zips senior Ben Zemanski
“Our fans are always great but this was really something else. It was fun to play in front of a crowd this big. The University of Akron has always had a great soccer tradition and a good following in this town but this took it to a whole new level today. It was great to see this many people at the game. It was a good feeling to take the field with that many people behind you.”
“The whole town loves us now. You can feel it. It’s special. We’ve build a great tradition and having the whole town behind us just adds to it. We’ve been building up to this for the four years (Porter) has been the coach and now we have a chance to win a national championship. That’s been our goal and the people of Akron will be excited if we bring it home next week.”
''Couldn't dream it up any better. Took a lot of heart from every one of these guys.''
Tulsa coach Tom McIntosh
"I certainly want to congratulate Akron on a good win. I thought they played well. I also want to congratulate my guys. We had a good plan coming in and I thought we executed it. I thought we really put an awful lot of pressure on them in the second half. We were just unfortunate that one of our chances didn't go in.”
"I couldn't be prouder of this season. This group has grown as much as any team I've ever had. I couldn't be prouder."
-- UA's only other appearance in the College Cup was in 1986. The Zips defeated Fresno State 1-0 and then lost to Duke 1-0 in the championship game.
-- The Zips held an advantage in shots (12-6) and shots on goals (4-3).
-- UA shut out its 17th opponent of the season, extending a school record. Zips freshman goalkeeper David Meves recorded three saves and earned his school-record 15th shutout.
-- Sarkodie, junior Chris Korb and freshman Zarek Valentin and Chad Barson contributed as the Zips' starting defenders.
-- Gavin, Zemanski, junior Anthony Ampaipitakwong and freshman Ben Speas were the Zips' starters at midfield. Sophomore forwards Teal Bunbury (three shots on goal) and Darlington Nagbe were also key offensively, along with freshmen reserves Yoram Mwila and Scott Caldwell.
-- Porter will be attending his eighth College Cup. His previous seven trips were with Indiana University; two as a player, four as an assistant coach and one as a graduate assistant. Three of those visits ended with a title.
-- UA's 23 consecutive wins matches the longest winning streak in a season that Indiana set in 1997. Porter was a starting midfielder on that Hoosiers team that fell to eventual-champion UCLA in the semifinals.

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