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Akron to play Virginia in national final

By Michael Beaven Published: December 12, 2009

Here is some additional information after the University of Akron advanced past North Carolina an NCAA Tournament semifinal men’s soccer game:
UA, ranked No. 1 in the country and seeded first, will play second-seeded Virginia (18-3-3) on Sunday at 1 p.m. in the national final game at WakeNed Stadium in Cary, N.C.
The winner of the game, which is being televised by ESPN2, earns the championship trophy, the College Cup.
The Zips (23-0-1) and fifth-seeded North Carolina (16-2-4) played regulation and two overtime periods, 110 total minutes off soccer, and were tied at 0-0 tie before a crowd of 8,862 fans who braved 28 degree temperatures.
Freshman Zarek Valentin, senior Ben Zemanski, sophomore Kofi Sarkodie, freshman Scott Caldwell and junior Blair Gavin successfully took the penalty kicks for UA and kicked them into the net past Tar Heels senior goalkeeper Brooks Haggerty.
Michael Farfan and Zach Loyd of North Carolina made their attempts, and then Jordan Graye missed his attempts by kicking the ball far over the crossbar and beyond the reach of UA freshman goalkeeper David Meves.
UNC’s Drew McKinney and Kirk Urso also converted their kicks.
Quotes:
Akron coach Caleb Porter
''Obviously, I am pleased that we are in the championship game. I am a little disappointed we couldn't score a goal through the flow of the game.''
''We defended individually and collectively very well. We are excited to be in the championship game.''
''Credit our guys for stepping up on the PKs. All five guys stepped up and drilled them.''
Akron junior midfielder Blair Gavin
''My mindset is I am going to make it. I don't feel the keeper is going to stop me. I am confident I will be able to put it away.''
North Carolina coach Elmer Bolowich
''Strong defenses neutralized the attacks with very committed play.''
Notes:
-- The Zips have now been tied, but they remain undefeated at 23-0-1.
-- Valentin, Sarkodie, junior Chris Korb and freshman Chad Barson contributed as the Zips' starting defenders.
-- Gavin, Zemanski, junior Anthony Ampaipitakwong (two shots on goal) and freshman Ben Speas were the Zips' starters at midfield. Sophomore forwards Teal Bunbury (two shots on goal) and Darlington Nagbe were also key offensively, along with freshmen reserves Caldwell and Yoram Mwila.
-- Zips sophomore midfielder Michael Nanchoff was scheduled to start, but was scratched from the lineup due to a hamstring injury. He did not enter the game.
-- Ampaipitakwong injured his squad during the game and missed most of the second half and the overtimes.
-- UA had a lot of fans and the Zips supporters were vocal. The AK-Rowdies bussed down in one bus and other UA fans traveled to Cary by either bus, car or plane.
-- WakeMed Stadium is a very nice soccer venue. It will be interesting to see if UA could build something similar, but on a smaller scale. The seating for fans and the press box setup are each nice.

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