By Ira Green for MSNsportsNET.com
September 5, 2008
AKRON, Ohio – The West Virginia University men’s soccer team dropped a close 1-0 decision to No. 5 Akron, Friday night, in both teams’ first match in the University of Akron Classic at Lee Jackson Field.
WVU’s (0-2-1) stingy defense gave the offensively-powerful Zips problems all night. Akron only was able to take three shots on-goal and the Zips’ lone score at the 26:11 mark by Steve Zakuani, the Mountaineers played shutout defense. Sophomore goalkeeper Zach Johnson had two saves while junior Jason Bristol and freshman Raymon Gaddis played all 90 minutes on the back line in the game.
“Our guys shut them down completely and we were right there with them,” Head Coach Marlon LeBlanc said. “Our performance was good and I think what’s encouraging is the fact that we are getting better each game, but we just need that first goal so we can get on a run.”
Junior Mo Travis had a breakaway opportunity with only the keeper to beat at the 25:09 mark in the opening session, but could not shoot it past Akron's Evan Bush for the score.
“If Mo puts that goal away, it’s a whole different game,” LeBlanc remarked. “Just a minute later they scored, but if we were ahead, we would have had the momentum.”
Freshman Declan Coll also had a shot on-goal and the Mountaineers recorded three corner kicks in the contest.
WVU was without three forwards entering the contest - senior Alex Yost, who was a game-time scratch with sore ribs, junior Tony Lindroos and sophomore Dan Hagey.
“We’re short-handed in a number of positions, especially in front of the goal which seems to be our Achilles’ heel right now,” LeBlanc added. “Every team goes through this where they are not at full strength, but we still need to get results. “
WVU returns to the field on Sunday, Sept. 7, for its final match in the University of Akron Classic against Wisconsin-Green Bay, who is 0-3-0 on the season. Kickoff is slated for noon.