The Zips beat North Carolina in penalty kicks Friday night, setting up the University of Akron to compete for its first team national championship Sunday against Virginia.
Akron was a perfect 5-for-5 on penalty kicks, while North Carolina's third attempt sailed over the net. The play of goaltender David Meves was especially critical as the Tarheels attacked late in overtime. North Carolina played most of the game without a player who was tagged with a red card. Still, they found solid opportunities to score.
The AK-Rowdies were well-represented. ESPNU showed them often. When they weren't on camera, they were making a lot of noise, giving the Zips a home-field feel, despite playing in the state of their foe.
Also today, news came that Teal Bunbury is one of three finalists for the Hermann Trophy. The Zips dominated control of the ball most of the game, but they never had a great scoring opportunity. North Carolina hunkered down and seemed to play with an eye toward overtime after the red card made the game 11-on-10.
Caleb Porter's Zips will play the most important game in the University of Akron's history -- in any sport -- on Sunday at 1 p.m. As Porter said on the ESPNU broadcast, an unbeaten season capped by a national championship would give the team a compelling argument for being the most dominant men's soccer team in NCAA history.
Tom Gaffney and Michael Beaven are in Cary, N.C. They will have much more on the game.