AKRON, Ohio – Two goals in the first five minutes of each half by No. 2 Akron proved to be the difference as the No. 20 West Virginia University men’s soccer team fell, 2-1, in Mid-American Conference action on Saturday evening at First Energy Stadium.
WVU (8-4-2, 3-1-1 MAC) held its own throughout the match, holding much of the possession against Akron (11-1-2, 5-0-0 MAC), who is now unbeaten in its last 43 conference matches.
“I thought our game plan was excellent, we just gave up some bad goals,” coach Marlon LeBlanc says. “We pressed them into doing some things they weren’t used to doing.”
Reinaldo Brenes capitalized on Akron’s first chance of the match in the fifth minute as WVU senior goalkeeper Pat Eavenson
came out of the box and Brenes beat him to the ball, flipping it over top of Eavenson from 18 yards out.
Akron jumped out to a 2-0 lead only five minutes into the second half as Scott Caldwell slotted the ball past Eavenson on a WVU defensive breakdown. The initial sequence began off a shot by Akron’s Aodhan Quinn that was cleared off the goal line by Mountaineer freshman Francio Henry
. Dillon Serna gathered the rebound and sent a cross to Caldwell for the eventual game-winning goal.
Freshman Majed Osman
helped the Mountaineers rebound quickly as he scored in the 52nd minute on a bouncing shot from just outside the 18-yard box that went by Akron keeper David Meves. The goal ended Akron’s shutout streak of 713 minutes that stretched over nine matches. It also was the first goal the Zips had allowed in conference play and the first goal allowed at home this season.
WVU continued to put pressure on the Zips and had its best chance with 1:30 remaining in regulation when senior Uwem Etuk
was fouled 30 yards out. Senior Shadow Sebele
took the free kick and hit a left-footed in-swinger that narrowly missed the upper 90 of the far post.
Akron held the edge in shots, 8-6, while each team took two corner kicks. Osman led all players with three shots, followed by two from sophomore Andy Bevin
. Brenes, Quinn and Alfred Koroma each took two shots for the Zips.
WVU had three excellent opportunities following Akron’s first goal of the match as senior Peabo Doue
had a right-footed curling shot in the ninth minute that went just wide left of the Akron goal frame.
Bevin nearly had a goal in the 13th minute after Etuk switched fields and Bevin knocked a curling shot into the arms of Meves.
Bevin had another chance from Etuk in the 30th minute, but put the one-timer just over the net.
The Mountaineers stay on the road next week for a MAC match at Northern Illinois on Saturday, Oct. 27, at 2 p.m.