Nov. 29, 2015
AKRON ENDS SMU'S RUN
Mustangs men stay close in one-sided quarterfinal
SMU's bid to reach the Elite Eight ended Sunday in Ohio, where fifth-ranked Akron pulled out a tight 2-1 victory in an otherwise dominant performance in the third round of the NCAA Division I men's soccer tournament.
The 11th-ranked Mustangs (15-3-4), one of two unseeded sides to reach the Sweet 16, answered Akron's opening goal with an own goal, then conceded an own goal just before halftime to send the No. 4 seed Zips (17-3-2) to a home quarterfinal next Saturday against No. 9 Creighton (19-3-0), a 1-0 winner Saturday at No. 4 North Carolina.
The other quarterfinals will pit No. 1 Wake Forest (17-2-2) against No. 7 Stanford (16-2-2), No. 6 Syracuse (15-5-3) vs. unranked Boston College (11-7-2), and No. 3 Clemson (17-2-2) against No. 12 Maryland (12-5-5).
Akron, which reached its first quarterfinal since winning the NCAA title in 2010, was in charge from start to finish, with mammoth advantages in shots (40-13, 23-5 in the second half) and corner kicks (19-3, 10-0 after halftime) and an 11-6 edge in shots on goal.
The 40 shots was a Zips program record and the 19 corners an NCAA Tournament mark.
Goalkeeper Michael Nelson made nine saves to keep the Mustangs in the match until the end.
Goncalo Soares fired the Zips ahead in the 25th minute, finishing a feed from Stuart Holthusen following an Adam Najem cross, and SMU pulled even in the 32nd when Bryce Clark's corner kick was knocked into the net by an Akron defender.
Akron's 43rd-minute winner arrived when SMU put the ball into its net following fine work by Holthusen and Richie Laryea.
The Mustangs nearly equalized again in the 61st minute, but Clark's shot was cleared off the goal line. Najem put a free kick off the post in the 71st minute, Akron's best second-half chance.