Oct. 18, 2011
Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (U-M Soccer Stadium)
Score: Michigan 1, #4 Akron 0 (OT)
Records: U-M (5-10-1), Akron (10-2-2)
Next U-M Game: Saturday, Oct. 22 -- at San Diego State (San Diego, Calif.), 3 p.m. PDT
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Junior midfielder Latif Alashe (Northville, Mich./Northville) chipped the University of Michigan men's soccer team past No. 4 Akron in a 1-0 upset overtime triumph on Tuesday night (Oct. 18) at the U-M Soccer Stadium.
With the Wolverines pushing forward in the offensive half of the field to start overtime, junior/sophomore midfielder Noble Sullivan (Grand Rapids, Mich./Catholic Central) poked a ball from the penalty kick spot and out of the Akron goalkeeper's grasp back to Alashe, who chipped a shot over the keeper and multiple Zips defenders from 17 yards out for the golden goal in the 97th minute, giving the Wolverines their second win against a ranked opponent this season.
Alashe's second goal of the season and second career game-winner is only the seventh goal Akron has allowed all season. Alashe's marker was the result of a pressure-heavy Michigan offense that outshot high-powered Akron by a 10-7 margin. Freshman forward Tyler Arnone (Hicksville, N.Y./Hicksville), sophomore/freshman midfielder Nick Lewin (Walled Lake, Mich./Walled Lake Western) and Sullivan each led the Wolverines with two shots on goal apiece.
Sophomore/freshman goalkeeper Adam Grinwis (Ada, Mich./Forest Hills) kept the Wolverines in the contest by earning a shutout -- his second career clean sheet. Grinwis turned away five Akron shots, while both sophomore forward Ezekiel Harris (Flint, Mich./Carman-Ainsworth) and freshman midfielder Luca Schioppa (Sao Paulo, Brazil/South Kent School [Conn.]) registered team saves to keep the shutout intact.
Play through the first 45 minutes was even between Michigan and Akron, with the Wolverines outshooting the Zips, 4-2, in the first half.
In the sixth minute, freshman forward Matthew Rickard (Exeter,Devonshire/Clyst Vale CC) received a pass just inside the box to the left side of the net. His shot beat the Akron goalkeeper to the far side, but it ricocheted off the post. Alashe came in to clean up the rebound untouched, but his follow-up from 10 yards away missed wide right. In the 36th minute, Schioppa was dribbling down the left sidelines and fed a ball back to fifth-year senior midfielder Adam Shaw (Lone Tree, Colo./Highlands Ranch) 15 yards above the box, where he drilled a laser that was heading for the upper-right 90 of the frame, but the Akron goalie's diving effort allowed him to get his fingertips on the shot and deflect it wide.
Akron's best scoring opportunity of the first half came in the 43rd minute as Zips forward Thomas Schmitt had beaten Grinwis to the right of the box, but Schmitt's momentum away from the net forced him to take an off-balanced shot that did not have much power, allowing Harris to run back in net and clear the shot away.
Akron earned seven second-half corner kicks and generated two quality scoring opportunities from five yards out in the 48th and 72nd minutes, but Schioppa and Grinwis, respectively, threw their bodies in front of the shots to keep the game scoreless.
Sullivan tried to end the game in the 89th minute, but his blast from 16 yards out was deflected just enough by the Akron goaltender that the shot clanked off the crossbar.
The Zips earned the first quality scoring chance of overtime in the 94th minute. Akron midfielder Aodhan Quinn slotted a shot from 20 yards out that froze the Michigan defense and hit the inside of the right post. The ball rebounded back across the front of the net, where the Wolverines cleared.
Michigan travels to San Diego, Calif., this Saturday (Oct. 22) to take on San Diego State. The Wolverines' last non-conference challenge will kick off at 3 p.m. PDT.
N O T E S
This was the 11th meeting all-time between Michigan and Akron. The Wolverines have a 4-7-0 mark all-time against the Zips.
The last time Michigan and Akron faced off was in the semifinals of the 2010 College Cup. The Zips edged the Wolverines, 2-1, before downing Louisville, 1-0, in the finals to win the 2010 NCAA national championship.
Michigan's win tonight snaps a four-game losing streak to Akron. The Wolverines last defeated the Zips in 2007 with a 2-1 home win.
The Maize and Blue played in its sixth overtime game of the season. Michigan holds a 2-3-1 record when an extra session is played. U-M's last win also came in OT, 2-1 at Oakland. Noble Sullivan, who assisted on the winner today, scored that golden goal in the 105th minute.
Q U O T E S
Michigan Head Coach Steve Burns
On the win over Akron ... "It was a complete 97-minute game for us. We haven't put a lot of complete efforts together, but this certainly was one."
On if a win over Akron can get the team going moving forward ... "It's really just the focus on putting together complete games and playing to our potential. We saw it today and the level of opponent helps that. We don't have a break the rest of the way. We're heading out to San Diego State this weekend, and they are a top-25 team. Then we're at Michigan State and home to Northwestern. The RPI has just come out and all of those teams are ahead of us and two are Big Ten teams. We're just trying to put those complete games together. We did tonight."
On feeling an energy with the national semifinal rematch ... "I wish that was the story line, but I really don't think it was. I think that it's a different team. There were a lot of nerves. I love the fact that guys are nervous. It shows that they care about the game. They have a different team. We have a different team."
On the guys that played well tonight ... "I thought Nick Lewin and Adam Shaw in the midfield did a great job. They both probably covered 10, 10 and a half miles today. Akron is a team that we know is going to have long stretches of possessions. You just see all of that defensive work, where they are stepping out and dropping in and stepping out to the other side and dropping in and Shaw and Lewin I thought did really good. It was great for Latif to get the goal and I thought when Fabio came in, he lifted our team as well. Grinwis was on; the two center backs were on. It was a strong effort from everybody."
U-M Junior Latif Alashe
On the strong first half ... "I think that gives us a lot of confidence. Obviously, we've had a rough season, but that being said, all of the games we lost, the majority of them have been by one goal. We know we can play with just about anyone but also getting that confidence and knowing we went toe-to-toe with them for a half at 0-0 and definitely keep that going into the second half and overtime if need be."