Men's Soccer Suffers 1-0 Setback to No. 5 Akron
Oct. 12, 2011
AKRON, Ohio - The Penn State men's soccer team hung tough in a hostile environment at No. 5 Akron (9-1-2) on Wednesday night but suffered a 1-0 loss to the defending national champions Zips.
"I think the team found themselves tonight," said head coach Bob Warming. "I am never happy about a loss but the guys played their hearts out. They did really well. I am very proud of them."
For the second consecutive game, a first half header goal from the far post off a set piece proved to be the Nittany Lions' undoing. In the 25th minute, a Penn State foul lead to an Akron free kick. Aodhan Quinn sent a pass into the box targeting Darren Mattocks. The Zips' leading scorer put his offering into net for the game winner.
For the second consecutive year, a controversial call by an official proved to loom large in the outcome of a Penn State-Akron clash. Last season, it was a penalty kick ruling in double overtime while this time it was a red card issued early in the second half.
Fresh off his call up by the Puerto Rico National Team for two World Cup qualifier matches, junior Julian Cardona (Lincoln, Neb.) was battling for possession in the deep in Akron's zone in the 50th minute. After both Cardona and his mark went to the ground, play continued. Trying to regain control of the ball, Cardona popped up and jumped over the Akron defender in pursuit. The linesman then stopped play and had a red card issued to Cardona for rough play.
Despite playing down a man for the game's final 40-plus minutes, Penn State (6-5-2) outshot Akron in the second half, 5-3, and very nearly tied the game in its waning moments.
After senior defender Mark Fetrow (West Chester, Pa.) was fouled hard near midfield, freshman goalkeeper Andrew Wolverton (Snellville, Ga.) came up from his goal to take the free kick. His dump pass into the box resulted in a corner kick, which was taken by senior defender Matt Smallwood (Cochranville, Pa.). Sending in a beautiful corner, Akron goalkeeper David Meves came out to punch the Smallwood service away but the ball instead bounced off his hands. Senior midfielder Mackenzie Arment (Manheim, Pa.) chested the ball down and got off a rocket towards goal, but Zips defenders were in position to deny the shot.
Penn State was aggressive on the attack throughout the game, earning 10 corner kicks to Akron's three. Shots finished 10-8 in favor of the Zips. Wolverton recorded four saves in his 13th straight start.
Penn State returns to Big Ten play this weekend when it hosts Northwestern (6-4-3, 1-0-1) on Sunday at 2 p.m. at Jeffrey Field in a game that will be aired live on the Big Ten Network. The Nittany Lions own a dominating 22-3-3 record in the all-time series with Northwestern. A year ago, the Nittany Lions drew, 1-1, with the Wildcats in Evanston during the regular season and won 3-1 in a first round match-up of the Big Ten Tournament in University Park.