Caleb Porter and the University of Akron Zips cruised to their ninth Mid-America Conference Tournament Championship overall and fifth in the last six seasons with a 2-0 victory over Northern Illinois University yesterday. Goals by Wil Trapp and Saad Abdul-Salaam led the way.
The game extended the Zips' run of 47 games without a loss in MAC play—a streak that goes all the way back to 2007. Prior to beating NIU, UA was victorious in the tournament semifinals on Friday with a 5-0 mauling of Bowling Green.
The Zips, who posted their 16th shutout of the season on Sunday, have won their last 14 games and are unbeaten in their 15. UA has earned a clean sheet in each of its last six matches and has allowed just goal in its last 1,361 minutes of play.
Listen to to head coach Porter talk about the championship win and watch highlights from the game:
Fresh from their big win, UA went on to acquire the 5th seed in the 2012 NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Championship tournament. With the high seed, they receive a bye into the second round and will host the winner of Niagra and the University of Michigan on Nov. 18. Bright Dike’s alma mater, Notre Dame, received the No. 1 seed in the tournament.
The Portland Pilots women had an emotional weekend themselves as they pulled out a win on penalties against the Washington State Cougars Friday night at Merlo Field in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Pilots junior goalkeeper Erin Dees made three (!) saves during the penalty shootout before WSU’s final attempt flew over the bar.
The Pilots had fallen behind twice before rallying to draw even at 2-2. WCC Defender of the Year Kendall Johnson—who played her high school soccer in the shadow of JELD-WEN Field at Lincoln High—got Portland on the scoreboard just before the half while Michelle Cruz found the equalizer.
Watch the thrilling highlights and see Dees’ string of saves here:
UP next face Michigan at State College, PA on Friday, Nov. 16 in the next round of the NCAA tournament.
Anticipation and expectations run high this weekend as the University of Akron Zips gear up to host the MAC Championship tournament this weekend. It also means the end is nearing for head coach Caleb Porter for his time there before taking over the reins at Portland.
The NCAA tournament still looms large on the horizon for the Zips but for four seniors--goalkeeper David Meves, midfielder Scott Caldwell, defender Chad Barson and forward Thomas Schmitt--their time at UA is also drawing to a close. All four were part of the 2010 College Cup championship team--alongside Timbers midfielder Darlington Nagbe--and also help symbolize the type of soccer Porter has built during his time with the Zips.
"It’s fitting that they’re graduating in my last year as well, because I feel like they embody a lot of the qualities that I really want Akron soccer to be known for.”
College soccer expert Travis Clark and has a great piece inTopDrawerSoccer.com on what this season has meant to Porter and his senior class. Go read it.
Caleb Porter and his University of Akron Zips wrapped up their regular season last week with back-to-back shutout wins. On Wednesday, they beat Michigan State 1-0 and then followed that up with a 2-0 win over Western Michigan back at home on Senior Night.
The earlier win over the Spartans was also historic as it gave senior goalkeeper David Meves his 51st career shutout thus breaking the NCAA all-time shutouts mark previously held by Josh Ford.
Meves, who has already set school records for wins (73) and minutes played (8,138), has started 89 games – posting a career mark 73-7-9 – during his historic career and has allowed just 45 goals in more than 8,138 minutes of play for a goals-against-average of 0.50. Not surprisingly, Meves was named National Player of the Week by College Soccer News Monday.
Porter’s team has out-scored their last 11 opponents by a count of 30-1 and UA has yet to trail in a game at home this season. Perhaps most excitingly for the Zips is they now are the No. 1 ranked NCAA Division 1 team in the country by TopDrawerSoccer.com.
The Zips next host Bowling Green on Friday at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field in the MAC Conference Championships semifinal. The game also marked the final home regular season match for Caleb Porter as head coach at UA before taking over the helm in Portland this winter. The AK ROWDIES supporters group made this special banner, signed by numerous fans, to hold aloft at the match:
Thank You Coach Porter twitter.com/AK_BigChief/st…
— Ian Tayek (@AK_BigChief) November 4, 2012
Elsewhere in college soccer, Timbers U-23s forward Mark Sherrod scored three goals last week, leading to a pair of Memphis victories, and today was named the C-USA Offensive Player of the Week. He has 12 goals and 28 points on the season, both tied for second in the conference. MLSsoccer.com also spoke of Sherrod's exploits in their lates MLS on Campus feature.
The University of Portland Pilots men’s and women’s team had a busy weekend celebrating. The women rolled to a 5-0 win over University of San Francisco (Watch Match Highlights) and then gathered together Monday to find their NCAA tournament fate.
With an 11-4-4 overall record, the Pilots received an at large bid to play Washington State this Friday at Merlo Field at 7pm. It is UP’s 13th straight appearance in the NCAA Postseason and their 20th appearance overall during the last 21 years.
The men’s side celebrated Senior Day with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over first-place San Diego Toros. Timbers U-23s midfielder Steven Evans had the game-tying assist and game winning goal in the win. It was Evans’ 14th goal of 2012 putting him atop the WCC league lead with fellow Timbers U-23s player and Santa Clara forward Erik Hurtado.
Portland State women’s soccer wrapped up their season Saturday with a 3-2 loss to Montana in the Big Sky tournament semifinals. Despite an end to the season, the campaign was one of the most successful seasons in program history. The Vikings won their second straight Big Sky regular season championship (shared with Idaho State & Montana) while finishing with the third-best record in school history at 9-8-2 overall and 6-2-1 in conference. Nine players made the Big Sky All-Conference team—a program high.
Caleb Porter's University of Akron Zips continued their stellar 2012 run with two big wins last week, both of which marked special milestones.
Last Tuesday night, goalkeeper David Meves became the school's all-time shutouts leader in a 1-0 decision at Ohio State. Junior Reinaldo Brenes scored his ninth goal in seventh matches and Meves made a season high six saves in the match. Meves' 49th career clean sheet surpassed current Montreal Impact 'keeper Evan Bush who set the record during the 2005-08 seasons.
"I thought it was very fitting for [Meves] to do it today because he bailed us out on several occasions,” said Coach Porter after the game. “We probably don’t win that game, if it’s not for him.”
On Saturday, the Zips wrapped up their eighth-straight MAC regular season title with a 4-0 win over Hartwick. Defender Chad Barson—who could sign a Homegrown contract with Columbus in the offseason—scored for UA and helped lead the team to their second shutout in a row.
As a result, the Zips (13-1-2, 6-0-0 MAC) earned the right to host the MAC Tournament as the No. 1 seed from Nov. 9-11 at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field. Coach Porter has won the conference title in each of his seven seasons at Akron. The team is now ranked No. 2 in the country behind unbeaten Maryland and over the last 10 games, the Zips have scored 28 goals and conceded only one.
Closer to home, in a battle of Timbers U-23s teammates, Steven Evans and Ricardo Carrillo’s University of Portland prevailed over Erik Hurtado’s Santa Clara University 2-1 on a nationally televised game on FOX Soccer. Evans put the Pilots up in the 37th minute with his WCC-leading 12th goal but it was Carrillo who sealed the win with a spectacular 110th minute goal in overtime.
Evans added to his goal scoring exploits with his 13th goal on Sunday though the Pilots lost to St. Mary’s 3-2. They next play at Merlo Field on Friday at 7pm against Loyola Marymount and then on Sunday versus San Diego at 1pm.
Their female Pilots counterparts had a productive weekend. On Friday night, down 1-0 at the half to No. 18 Pepperdine, UP roared back with three goals in twelve minutes to win 3-1 behind two goals from Michelle Cruz and a a gamewinner from Amanda Frisbie. Watch Frisbie’s nutmeg game winner here. Then on Sunday, with former Pilots and current USWNT star Megan Rapinoe in attendance, UP downed LMU 2-0. Watch highlights here.
Incidentally, Rapinoe has been making the rounds in Portland, here she is enjoying Bright Dike's game-tying goal against San Jose in the Timbers 2012 season finale Saturday night. (Photo via beIN Sport's Temryss Lane):
— Temryss Lane (@TemryssLane) October 28, 2012
Down I-5, Oregon State University’s and Timbers U-23s forward Emery Welshman became the first Beavers player to hit double digits in goals since current Timbers forward Danny Mwanga did it in 2009. Welshman scored in a 2-1 loss to PAC-12 rival UCLA.
In other Timbers U-23s news, midfielder Eric Miller of Creighton played with the US U-20’s recently in Spain at the Marabella Cup. Read this TopDrawerSoccer.com story about how Miller and the other collegiate players on the team are balancing the international dates with their university commitments.
One streak ended, another streak continued and a passing of the torch.
It was a busy week for Caleb Porter and the Akron Zips. After a successful #FillTheHill movement to pack the house last week in their match against Michigan, UA went out and beat the Wolverines 1-0 behind an Aodhan Quinn goal and shutout from goalkeeper David Meves in front of a crowd of 3,289. It was the team’s eighth consecutive shutout and the 48th shutout of senior Meves' career, which ties him with current Montreal Impact 'keeper Evan Bush (2005-08) for first place on the school's career list.
On Friday night, the Zips won their eighth consecutive game though their streak of holding their opponents scoreless ended at 713 minutes in a 2-1 victory over West Virginia. Reinaldo Brenes, who earlier in the week was named MAC Player of the Week, scored early in the 5th minute while senior Scott Caldwell provided another in the 50th minute. For Brenes, it was his eighth goal of the season—all scored over the past five matches.
With Porter’s pending arrival in Portland later this winter, Akron was faced at finding a successor at head coach. On Wednesday, the Zips found their man, elevating current associate head coach and recruiting coordinator Jared Embick into the new head coach position following this season. Embick has been with the team since 2007 has been a key figure in the Zips securing some of the best prospects in the country – and around the world – with top-five recruiting classes in each of the past five seasons, highlighted by the No. 1 class in 2009 and No. 2 classes in 2010 and 2011.
In total, Embick recruited or helped develop 14 players who have gone on to play professionally either in MLS or overseas since 2007 and at least one Timbers player was happy with the development.
Congrats Jared Embick, the new Head Coach at the University of Akron!!!
— Darlington Nagbe (@darlingtonnagbe) October 17, 2012
Elsewhere in Portland area soccer action, the UP Pilots women got back on track Sunday night with a 3-0 win over St. Mary’s on the road. Powered by Amanda Frisbie’s brace, the Pilots picked up its second straight road win—they won in overtime Friday 2-1 against San Diego State—to improve to 8-4-3 on the year and to 2-1-1 in the WCC.
Led by Megan Miller and Jenna Richardson’s pair of goals, the Oregon State Beavers women’s team cruised to a 5-1 romp over Arizona Sunday night. For the Beavers, it was the most points they scored in a single match this season and gave them an 11-4-1 overall record on the year and a 3-3-2 mark in conference play.
Timbers U-23’s forward Emery Welshman continues to lead the OSU mens' side in scoring after picking up his ninth goal in a 2-2 with Stanford on Thursday night. The Beavers fell to Cal 1-0 on Sunday evening in Berkeley.
The Akron Zips continue their great run of play this week with two victories. The first was a 2-0 non-conference win over Penn State last Wednesday in University Park, PA. Akron took control early with a pair of first-half goals from standouts Reinaldo Brenes and Scott Caldwell to hold on for the win.
Akron followed that up with a 2-0 victory over Northern Illinois on a damp Saturday afternoon in Dekalb, IL. Working behind goals from Phil Fives and Brenes--his seventh goal in the last four matches--the Zips (9-1-2, 4-0-0 MAC) extended their win streak to six matches and pushed their run of consecutive shutouts to seven while out-shooting the defending MAC Tournament Champion Huskies, 18-8.
Caleb Porter's UA is now unbeaten in its last 42 conference matches (39-0-3), which is tied with Clemson (1972-80) for the second-longest run in NCAA history. Furman, which owns the all-time standard, went unbeaten in 46 straight league contests from 1999-2003.
Moreover, Akron goalkeeper David Meves (right)--now just one shutout away from the school's all-time record--was named to TopDrawerSoccer's Team of the Week. The Zips remain at No. 3 in their poll as well as MLSsoccer.com's MLS on Campus poll.
Tuesday night, UA goes back into non-conference action against Michigan (4:30pm PT, videostream at GoZips.com). Akron and head coach Porter has a special message for Zips fans looking to come to the match as they look to #FillTheHill at FirstEnergy Stadium - Cub Cadet Field:
Locally, the University of Portland women's team were in action Saturday night against No. 5 Bringham Young with at least one Timbers player among the sellout 4,979:
— franck songo (@franckck) October 14, 2012
Songo'o witnessed what maybe called the Pilots Goal of the Year from Portland-native Kendall Johnson who scored a cracker of a goal in the 81st minute. Sadly for UP, it was not enough as they fell 2-1 to the Cougars. Nonetheless, just as Pilots men's team member & Timbers U-23s midfielder Steven Evans is being touted as potentially one of the best ever at UP, so too is the junior left back Johnson. As a recent Oregonian profile put it, "[UP head coach Garrett] Smith believes the Lincoln High School graduate has a chance to become the school's next national team player, joining elites such as Sophie Schmidt, Megan Rapinoe and Christine Sinclair."
After putting up a hat trick last week, University of Akron’s Reinaldo Brenes was at it again Friday night for the Zips with two goals and an assist in their 5-0 win over Florida Atlantic University. Junior Eric Stevenson (right) also had two goals and an assist while freshman Dillon Serna picked up a goal as well.
For Caleb Porter’s Zips, it was the fourth straight win and fifth straight shutout they have out-scored their last four opponents 16-0. Moreover, they have yet to allow a goal at home in five matches.
For their performances, Brenes and Stevenson were both named to Top Drawer Soccer’s National Team of the Week and Akron moved up to No. 3 in their national poll.
In Timbers U-23s news, goalkeeper Justin Baarts made a clutch penalty shot save for the University of Portland to hold on to the Pilots’ 2-1 win over Loyola Marymount also on Friday evening. U-23s member Ricardo Carrillo picked up an assist on the game-winner, his team-best fourth assist of the season.
The UP Pilots women’s team also played this weekend and despite a spirited comeback, they fell 3-2 to the San Diego State Aztecs. As part of the afternoon, UP honored their 2002 NCAA national championship team in a special ceremony at Merlo Field. Former NASL The late Clive Charles--a former Timbers NASL player and Ring of Honor member--was the coach of that squad which also included former player Colleen Little.
The Oregonian did a unique store about how Charles had such an affect on Little as a player and a person that when she ran in the Portland Marathon yesterday--finishing in 2 hours, 51 minutes and 35 seconds--she chose to have "4 Clive" on her racing bib.
“Every time I compete, I compete in remembrance of him,” Little said. “He taught all of us to be good athletes, but also to be amazing people. His suffering pushes me toward everything I do.”
It's an inspiring story about a man who is still inspiring athletes today. Read the whole thing here.
The No. 7 Akron Zips continued their quest of the Mid-America Conference with a 4-0 thrashing of the Univ. of Buffalo on Friday night. Junior Reinaldo Brenes (right), who previously had only one goal in 32 career Akron matches, exploded for a first half hat trick scoring in the 12th, 24th, and 38th minutes.
It was Akron's first hat trick since current Vancouver Whitecaps rookie Darren Mattocks achieved the feat against the same Bulls in the Zips' last meeting at Buffalo in 2011.
Senior Scott Caldwell, who assisted Brenes' second score, added his team-leading sixth goal of the season in the 88th minute on a penalty kick. Akron has now gone 391 minutes without conceding a goal as senior David Meves picked up his 44th career Akron shutout—just four off the all-time record.
The Zips, who have won the last seven MAC regular-season titles, are also 42-2-3 against MAC schools under seventh-year head coach Caleb Porter. Moreover, UA has lost just once in its last 57 home matches (49-1-7), dating back to the start of the 2008 season. The win has them move up one spot in MLSsoccer.com's rankings to No. 3.
At least one Timbers fan attended the match at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field and made his way to greet Coach Porter.
— RCTID in OHIO (@RCTIDinOHIO) September 30, 2012
Here too is Porter talking postgame along with Brenes about the match against Buffalo as well as some highlights. It's a fascinating analysis of how Porter sees the game. Most dominating stat perhaps? Akron did not allow a Buffalo shot on goal for the entire match:
Speaking of Brenes, the midfielder/defender made TopDrawerSoccer.com's Team of the Week along with Timbers U-23s' goalkeeper Spencer Richey who picked up a shutout for the Washington Huskies in their 1-0 win over Oregon State. Fellow Timbers U-23s' goalkeeper Justin Baarts also had a shutout for the University of Portland on Friday when the Pilots blanked the San Francisco Dons.
When things are clicking, things are clicking.
Caleb Porter and the Akron Zips began the defense of their Mid-America Conference title on Friday night with a 2-0 win over Bowling Green--their third shutout in a row. Senior David Maves, the reigning MAC Player of the Week, continued in his quest to unseat Evan Bush as the all-time Akron leader in shutouts making six saves. Freshman Alfred Koroma (right) and senior Scott Caldwell both tallied goals for Akron while the team peppered Bowling Green with 30 shots--a 14-3 advantage in the first half alone. Caldwell leads the Zips with five goals in eight games in 2012.
It was Porter’s 39th straight league match without a loss going back to 2007—good for third on the NCAA's list for the longest conference unbeaten streak. UA improved to 82-1-3 when scoring two or more goals and 100-3-4 when scoring first under Coach Porter.
After their two wins, MLS on Campus rankings has the Zips holding steady at No. 4 with shoutouts for Colorado Rapids Academy freshman attacking midfielder Dillon Serna and predict the New England Revolution will move to sign Caldwell as a Homegrown player at season's end.
The Zips will continue MAC play next weekend when they host Buffalo Saturday night at 4:30pm PT, at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field.
Elsewhere in the college ranks, former Timbers U-23s midfielder Steven Evans dropped a first-half hat trick for the University of Portland on Seattle University in the Husky Fever Classic in Washington only to fall 4-3 in the match. The Pilots lost to No. 21 Brown on Sunday 2-0 and are currently 2-4-1 on the year. Also at the same tournament in Seattle, Timbers U-23s goalkeeper Spencer Richey picked up a shutout in University of Washington's 2-0 win over Seattle University on Sunday.
Heading south to Oregon State University and things are definitely clicking for Timbers U-23s forward Emery Welshman (right). The senior was named TopDrawerSoccer.com’s Player of the Week and was included in the College Soccer News National Team of the Week for his offensive explosion last week. The striker had a hat trick in a 6-1 win over Univ. of Wisconsin-Green Bay on Friday and then a double overtime golden goal against UC-Irvine in Sunday’s 1-0 thriller both as part of the Oregon State Hensor/Zaher Nike Classic tournament.
Fellow Timbers U-23s Roberto Farfan and Chris Harms joined Welshman on the all-tournament team. Apparently, teammate Farfan helped teach Welshman how to cook (watch video below).
You can watch this Beavers trio on the Pac-12 Networks next Sunday at 4pm PT as they take on Spencer Richey and the Univ. of Washington Huskies.
In his latest Throw-in column for MLSsoccer.com, Jonah Freedman opines on how a precedent can set up a team's expectations. Whether it's the Cascadia Cup, Brimstone Cup, Trillium Cup, MLS Cup, U.S. Open Cup or more, Freedman posits that no matter the silverware, these trophies matter. They can help define, or at the very least, begin to define the direction a team aims to take. Given how close the Timbers are to winning this year's Cascadia Cup in what has been a difficult season, Freedman asks,
So what are fans supposed to make of these trophies? For Portland, it’s a sign of progress, a symbol of success upon which they can hang their hats in their second MLS season. It is perhaps a springboard to future glory, when a young team with a young coach can do great things as they evolve.