Men's Soccer Travels to No. 5 Akron for Mid-Week Match
Oct. 11, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State men's soccer team will begin a three-week long odyssey that includes road trips to face four non-conference opponents in three different states on Wednesday when the Nittany Lions travel to take on defending national champion and No. 5-ranked Akron (8-1-2). Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. at the Zips' FirstEnergy Stadium - Cub Cadet Field.
Penn State (6-4-2) dropped a 1-0 decision to Michigan State on Sunday afternoon in East Lansing to fall to 0-3-0 in the Big Ten. Playing without leading goal scorer Julian Cardona (Lincoln, Neb.), who was called up by the Puerto Rico National Team for World Cup qualifying duty, the Nittany Lions recorded a season-low four shots and allowed the Spartans a season-high 13 corner kicks. Freshman goalkeeper Andrew Wolverton (Snellville, Ga.) made a career-best six saves to keep Penn State in the game.
Akron remained unbeaten at home (4-0-1) in 2011 and registered its seventh shutout of the season on Saturday with a 2-0 victory over MAC opponent Northern Illinois. The Zips, which have scored 26 goals while surrendering just six, rank in the top 10 in nearly every offensive and defensive statistical category nationally. On the attack, Akron is headlined by sophomore forward Darren Mattocks, one of the nation's most productive players. He tops the team in both goals (10) and points (11). Lending support are six Zips who have netted two or goals, led by junior midfielder Scott Caldwell (4 goals, 7 assists).
The Akron defense is anchored by junior Chad Barson, a First Team All-MAC selection a year ago, and 2010 Second Team All-American junior goalkeeper David Meves (0.52 GAA). Half of the six goals surrendered by Akron came in its loss lone of the season, a 3-2 overtime road setback to UC Santa Barbara on October 5.
Penn State owns a 13-13-5 record in its all-time series versus Akron but has gone winless in its last six meetings with the Zips, including last season's narrow 2-1 double overtime loss in Happy Valley. The Nittany Lions last defeated Akron in 2004, a 4-0 decision at Jeffrey Field, but has earned ties in 2006 (0-0 at Akron) and 2008 (1-1 in University Park) since that victory.
Fans can follow all of the action of the Penn State-Akron match on the Internet with live stats and instant scoring updates. Find a link on the official website of Nittany Lion athletics, www.GoPSUsports.com.
Penn State will return to Big Ten play this weekend when it hosts Northwestern (5-4-3, 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.