Men's Soccer Back on the Road for Showdown with No. 4 Akron
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; October 2, 2005 - The Penn State men's soccer team will face a top five nationally ranked opponent for the second time in four days when the Nittany Lions travel to battle the No. 4 Akron Zips on Monday, Oct. 3. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. ET at Lee Jackson Field in Akron, Ohio.
Penn State will look to maintain the momentum it gained from a thrilling 2-1 overtime win over No. 5 Indiana on Friday evening in Bloomington, Ind. In front of a nationally televised audience on Fox Soccer Channel, freshman Jason Yeisley (Allentown, Pa.) handed the Hoosiers just their third-ever regular season Big Ten loss at home with his second goal of the game and his team-high fourth of the season. His first score, which knotted the game at 1-1 early in the first half, was set up by a spectacular play from fellow striker and reigning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week, Simon Omekanda (Rochester Hils, Mich.). Conrad Taylor (Colorado Springs, Colo.) was brilliant in goal for the Lions, recording six saves, including a stop of an Indiana penalty kick that helped send the game into overtime.
In the fourth-ranked Zips, Penn State will face, perhaps, its sternest test of the 2005 season. Akron, the No. 1 rated team in the Great Lakes Region, enters Monday night's game with an unblemished 9-0-0 record in tow, including a 3-0 blanking of Ohio State in its last outing on Sept. 30. The Zips, along with No. 1 New Mexico, are the only two collegiate soccer teams that are undefeated and untied. Possessing an equally dominant offense and defense, Akron has outscored its opponents an amazing 35-3 this season. Forward Ross McKenzie fronts the offensive attack. The senior tops the Zips in goals and is tied for the team lead in assists. Junior Sinisa Ubiparipovic (eight goals, three assists) is also a key weapon on offense. Goalkeeper Evan Bush is in the top 10 nationally in goals against average, owning with a 0.34 gaa. A starter in all nine of Akron's games, the freshman netminder has collected six shutouts.
In 25 all-time meetings between Penn State and Akron, the Nittany Lions hold a 13-9-3 edge. The teams have split the last four contests, with each squad winning at home and losing on the road.
In the teams' last meeting, on September 19, 2004, Penn State steamrolled the Zips, 4-0, at Jeffrey Field en route to winning the Penn State Nike Classic. Four different Nittany Lions scored goals and Conrad Taylor earned his second shutout of the season in the victory.
Penn State will return home later this week for a Fri., Oct. 7 (5:00 p.m.) match-up with Northwestern in the Nittany Lions' 2005 Big Ten opener at Jeffrey Field. The Lions will continue their home stand on Sun., Oct. 9 when they host Wisconsin in a game scheduled for 2:00 p.m.