AKRON, Ohio – The West Virginia men’s soccer team ended its season with a 3-2 loss at No. 3 Akron in the second round of the NCAA Championship at Lee Jackson Field on Sunday evening.
The Mountaineers finished the season with an 11-8-2 record, including a 10-1 mark at home. The 10 home victories are tied with the 2006 squad for the most in program history and the 11 win mark was the most since 2007.
“Unfortunately in the last few games we have had to play from behind," coach Marlon LeBlanc said. "I thought that if we have five more minutes with the way the tempo changed throughout that game that we were going to get the third goal.”
The Zips won their 26th consecutive game at home and it was their 37th consecutive game without a loss at home. Akron now awaits the winner of tonight’s Indiana-Tulsa match.
Akron controlled possession to start the game and it only took 11 minutes for the Zips to net their first goal. Anthony Ampaipitakwong took a corner that Darren Mattocks was able to head onto goal. West Virginia sophomore Uwem Etuk was on the goal line, but headed the ball into the net for an own goal.
Mattocks then picked up his second goal in the 30th minute after taking a shot that Johnson originally made a remarkable save on, but the ball trickled past the goal line to put the Zips up 2-0.
The first chance in the second half came in the 60th minute when Mattocks sent a rocket towards the WVU goal. Sophomore defender Eric Schoenle registered the second team save to keep the Akron lead at two.
"We came out of the locker room knowing that the third goal was going to win the game," LeBlanc said. "With our group we made a few adjustments with getting more pressure and guys forward."
Akron notched their third goal in the 69th minute from Scott Caldwell. Caldwell was able to settle the ball from about 22 yards out and took a left-footed shot past Johnson.
Sophomore Shadow Sebele broke the shutout in the 81st minute on a scorcher from 23 yards out that went into the upper left corner past Akron keeper David Meves. Senior Dan Hagey started the West Virginia pressure bringing the ball up the left side of the field. Hagey was able to cross the ball into center of the field to freshman Jay Williams, who played a pass back to Sebele to finish.
Junior Uzi Tayou then cut the Akron lead to one as he scored his first goal of the season in the 85th minute. Tayou took a throw-in from Sebele and headed the ball into the lower right corner past Meves.
The final West Virginia opportunity came in the 87th minute on a blast from junior Franck Tayou that wrapped around the outside of the Akron goal.
The Zips finished with a 15-4 advantage in shots and 4-2 corner kick edge.
Johnson played all 90 minutes and ended his career as the all-time minutes played and goals-against average leader.
The game was also the final match for Hagey and fellow senior Alex Silva who saw 50 minutes of action.
“It’s a young group and returns all but three members, I like the group that we have and we’re going to add to it,” LeBlanc said. “This is only a team that is going to get better.”