TAMPA (August 21, 2009) – Whenever two team’s that are ranked in the Top 20 of the national polls in their respective sports face each other, there always seems to be an extra buzz in the air. And the fact that tonight’s game between the University of South Florida men’s soccer team – ranked 11th in the preseason National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) poll and No. 13 in the College Soccer News preseason rankings – and the University of Akron – No. 3 and No. 6 in the same polls respectively – was an exhibition game, that didn’t seem to matter one bit.
Both teams came into tonight’s game looking to make a statement with their regular season openers for both schools right around the corner, however it was the Zips that came out tonight and proved that they were worthy of their ranking handing USF a 3-1 loss in front of 1,756 fans at Lee Jackson Field.
“I have to give Akron a lot of credit,” said USF head coach George Kiefer. “They did a good job for 90 minutes and came out with a lot of intensity. The looked extremely comfortable out there tonight and looked like they were in midseason form. But I think that this was a good experience four our team tonight. We learned a lot and that’s why we play these types of exhibition games. It will help us in our training as we prepare for the regular season.”
Akron got out of the gate quickly and didn’t seem to let up for the full 90 minutes. The Zips would keep USF goalkeeper Jeff Attinella on his toes outshooting the Bulls 16-3 on the night.
Akron would get on the board first on an unassisted goal by Darlington Nagbe in the 21st minute on a shot from 12 yards out following a free kick.
The Bulls would finally get their first shot of the game in the 32nd minute when Bernardo Anor crossed the ball, from right-to-left, to Felipe Libreros, who would beat Akron’s David Meves and put the ball in the back of the net to tie the game at 1-1.
It wouldn’t take long for the Zips to retaliate and take the lead for good when Blair Gavin connected on a penalty kick in the 38th minute to give the home side a 2-1 edge entering the locker room at the intermission.
Both teams would go back and forth for most of the second half until Michael Nanchoff added an insurance goal in the 88th minute on a six-yard shot into the left corner of the goal.
Attinella would make five saves on the night and allowed two goals. USF backup keeper Brad Sienkiewich, who replaced Attinella in the 26th minute, would allow one Akron score.
The Bulls will close out their preseason slate on Aug. 27, at home, against Stetson at 7:30 p.m. before opening the regular season portion of their schedule on Sept. 1 at 7:30 p.m. against UCF at the USF Soccer Stadium.Season tickets for USF men’s soccer games are $40 for adults and $20 for youths and senior citizens. Adult individual match tickets are $6, while youth and senior citizen admission is $3. All groups of 10 or more can purchase tickets for $2.50 per ticket. All USF students will be admitted at no cost when they display their student ID.