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University of Akron Zips blog

Top Zips moments of 2006

By mrasor Published: December 31, 2006

Miscellaneous


After a ground-breaking 2006, the university athletics almost universally let its fans down.


Still, there were plenty of exciting moments. And, as you all know, 2007 promises greater prospects...


1. NIT appearance -- In its first postseason game in 17 years, Akron ended the John Cheney era at Temple, downing the Owls 80-73 and delivering the program's first-ever Division I postseason win. It was a coming-of-age game for Quade Milum, who showed what he had in store for next season by dropping 13 points and five rebounds over a taller front line. Akron then traveled to Nebraska to play Creighton, who outshot the Zips to win, 71-60.


2. NC State victory -- Dennis Kennedy barely crossed the goalline before time expired, giving Akron its first win over an ACC school. J.D. Brookhart could have kicked a field goal for the tie, but he made the right call. Unfortunately, Akron forfeited all its momentum the next week when turnovers and poor kicking prevented Akron from winning at the eventual MAC Champion Central Michigan Chippewas.


3. NCAA Track championships -- Akron sent six athletes to the national championships and four left as All-Americans. As a team, the men finished 49th and women came in 70th. Coach Dennis Mitchell lost three of those All-Americans, but three other NCAA qualifiers, Auston Papay, Randall Hafner and Natalie Sako, will return.


4. Kest's torrid streak -- When Jodi Kest arrived at Akron, who could have expected Akron to run off six straight wins and be 7-5 at this point in the season? Her rebuilding Zips have made progress each game this season. Two questions remain: Will they play this well during the MAC season? And will anyone show up at Rhodes Arena?


5. Resigning coaches -- Mack Rhoades achieved his main goal in the first year of his term as Akron's athletic director when Brookhart and Keith Dambrot signed similar extensions keeping them in the Rubber City until the next decade. Brookhart has excelled in recruiting. Dambrot has proven to be a defensive expert. Both certainly earned their raises.


Honorable mentions --


  • Akron finally signed an elite big man in Steve Swiech -- the 29th best center in the nation from Elizabeth, Pa.

  • Zips receiver Domenik Hixon heard his name called in the fourth round of the NFL Draft. As soon as his ailing foot heals, he will catch passes from Denver's Jay Cutler.

  • The women's soccer team started its season with seven straight wins. Catherine Byrne's Zips could not keep that momentum as they went 4-7 in MAC play.

  • Akron avoided punishment from the NCAA by surpassing the 15,000 average attendance at home games. That was actual attendance and paid attendance. Talking to members of the athletic department, meeting the goal was a significant accomplishment that had some people worrying.
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