MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University men’s soccer team begins a three-game road trip with a match at No. 21 Akron on Wednesday, April 7, in Akron. Ohio. Kickoff from Cub Cadet Field at FirstEnergy Stadium is set for 7 p.m. ET.
Fans can watch the match with a livestream available via ESPN+, while fans also can listen live on 99.7 FM (WWVU). Live stats from the contest can be found on the men’s soccer schedule page at WVUsports.com.
“Akron is always a team that likes to keep possession and play an expansive style, which won’t be too dissimilar to part of the test we had against Marshall,” first-year coach Dan Stratford said. “I’ve seen a good bit of them over the last eight years, between my time as an assistant when we first joined the MAC and actually played them a couple of times when I was with Charleston. I know (head coach) Jared (Embick) and the staff fairly well, and I’m familiar with the successes and the tradition they have at Akron, so we’re expecting a quality contest against a quality team.”
The Mountaineers (5-2-0. 3-2-0 MAC) and Zips (3-2-1, 2-2-0 MAC) square off for the 23rd time on the pitch Wednesday, as Akron holds a 17-4-1 all-time advantage over the Mountaineers. The two teams meet for the first time since November 7, 2019, when the Zips earned a 1-0 victory over WVU. In the Mountaineers’ final regular-season contest of 2019, Akron found the back of the net in the 72nd minute, and WVU failed to tally the equalizer.
Since joining the MAC in 2012, West Virginia has only beaten Akron twice, with its last win over the Zips coming in an overtime thriller in Akron in 2018.
Last time out, West Virginia tallied a 3-1 victory over Western Michigan to split the season series with the Broncos. A pair of Mountaineers scored in the win, including redshirt sophomore defender Dyon Dromers, who netted his first career goal to put WVU on the board first. Junior midfielder Ike Swiger’s second-half brace lifted the Mountaineers over WMU, with the game winner coming from the boot of Swiger in the 50th minute to mark his second game-winning goal in as many contests.
WVU outshot WMU, 11-9, in the victory, including notching eight shots on goal. Senior goalkeeper Steven Tekesky tallied four saves on the day.
Swiger is tied for fourth in the conference with three goals this season, including a 0.43 goals per game average. Freshman Jesus De Vicente has tallied a trio of assists on the season to sit in a tie for second in the MAC, while Tekesky leads the league in shutouts (4) and shutouts per game (0.57).
Akron is led by eighth-year head coach Jared Embick, who has put together a 103-42-16 overall record with the Zips since his hiring in 2012. Embick led the squad to its 20th regular season MAC title in 2019, while also garnering 2019 MAC Coach of the Year honors.
The Zips enter Wednesday’s contest with a 3-2-1 overall mark in 2021, including a 2-2-0 record in league play. In its first game since March 17 due to COVID-19 protocols within the program, Akron fell, 3-1, to Northern Illinois on April 4. Tonny Temple tallied the lone goal for the Zips in the 85th minute to avoid the shutout.
Temple and Diogo Pacheco pace the squad with a pair of goals and four points on the year, while six different Zips have scored this season. Pacheco also has registered 12 shots, placing six of them on goal, through six games this year to sit second in the MAC in shots per game (2.40). Will Meyer leads the Zips in goal this season, recording 10 saves and one shutout on the year.