The University of Akron men’s soccer team experienced both sides of a 2-1 result in double overtime last weekend.
This week, the Zips (3-1-0) are looking for two wins in regulation in the University of Akron Tournament at FirstEnergy Stadium-Cub Cadet Field.
UA, ranked No. 7 in the national coaches poll, will host No. 19 Virginia Commonwealth (1-1-1) at 7 p.m. today and unranked San Diego State (1-2-0) at 1 p.m. Sunday in its annual event.
St. John’s defeated UA 2-1 Friday in Queens, N.Y., to jump to No. 12 in the coaches poll. UA rebounded from the setback and beat Rutgers 2-1 Sunday in Piscataway, N.J.
“I think this past weekend we found different scenarios for us,” UA coach Jared Embick said. “We had to rebound from a loss and we had to come from behind to get a win. As a coach, you don’t mind those scenarios at some point in the year. You have things that you can address and you see things that you can do to get better. We didn’t want to take the loss. We were disappointed with that result. We played fairly well Friday, but had a few letdowns that caused us to lose the game. We showed some character to bounce back. We didn’t play very well Sunday, but we showed some resolve and found a way to win.”
Freshman forward Ismail Seremba and senior forward Eric Stevenson both scored a goal and had an assist last weekend. Senior forward Reinaldo Brenes also netted a goal on a penalty kick. Brenes leads the Zips with two goals this season.
“We are a work in progress on the offensive end,” Embick said. “We are trying to find our rhythm in front of the goal. We have put together chances, but we have not performed well enough. We have to finish more of our chances.”
Brenes and Stevenson have started all four matches along with redshirt freshman goalkeeper Fernando Pina, senior playmaker Aodhan Quinn, freshman midfielder Victor Souto, junior defenders Bryan Gallego and Saad Abdul-Salaam and sophomore defender Andrew Souders.
“I don’t think our defenders are happy with the three goals [allowed] over the weekend,” Embick said. “In our opinion they were soft goals. ... I don’t think we have seen the best of that crew yet. I think they will be ready for a strong weekend coming up.”
Seremba, senior Robbie Derschang and freshman Adam Najem have appeared in all four matches, too. Senior Zac Portillos, sophomore Matt Foldesy and freshman Louis Cross have played in three matches.
The Zips could be without Portillos this weekend due to a hamstring injury suffered in the match against St. John’s. Embick said that he participated in training Wednesday, and that he is 50-50 to play this weekend.
VCU coach Dave Giffard was a UA assistant with Embick under former Zips coach Caleb Porter. ... The Zips’ 1 p.m. match Sunday was originally scheduled for 2:30 p.m. but was changed to accommodate San Diego State’s travel arrangements. ... UA coaches and players will be running a free youth clinic for children ages 5-14 with a ticket to the Akron-VCU match Sunday. Boys and girls are invited to participate in the clinic from 12-12:45 p.m. on Shrank Field. Attendees should register on gozips.com and bring a soccer ball. ... Niagara plays San Diego State at 4 p.m. Friday and plays VCU at 3:30 p.m. Sunday. Ticket holders to UA matches can use their ticket to watch.
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Zips blog at http://www.ohio.com/zips. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.