The West Virginia men’s soccer team fell to the Akron Zips in a highly contested, 3-2, match in double overtime in Akron, Ohio, on Wednesday night.
For much of the contest, the Mountaineers (5-3-0, 3-3-0 MAC) found themselves playing catch-up, as the Zips (4-2-1, 3-2-0 MAC) jumped out to an early lead by way of an eighth minute header from junior Carlo Ritaccio.
West Virginia was able to tally a goal on the board late in the first half when sophomore midfielder Luke McCormick took advantage of the counterattack and punched the ball in the back of the net to the left of Zips goalkeeper Will Myer, bringing the game level at, 1-1, heading into halftime.
The Mountaineers were often suffocated by the relentless Zips back line and unable to get many shots on target as they totaled five, a season-low. However, the back line for the Mountaineers played just as well, as they also limited Akron to just five shots on target.
Despite the valiant efforts by the Mountaineer defense, they were unable to contain Akron’s Colin Biros in the back third. The second half was dominated by Biros and the Zips offensive attack, culminating in an 81st minute goal that Biros launched from 23-feet away, into the top corner past WVU senior goalkeeper Steven Tekesky. The goal put the Zips up late, 2-1, in the closing minutes of the game.
The WVU offense went into an all-out-attack that resulted in the ball making its way into the box on the feet of sophomore Dyon Dromers. Dromers was struck down by an oncoming Akron defender and it resulted in a penalty kick for the Mountaineers. The Steensel, Netherlands, native loaded up the shot and powered it by Myer, tying the game at 2-2.
Both the Zips and Mountaineers had not been forced into overtime this year, and neither team could get any shots on target in the first of two overtime periods. In the second overtime period, it was the Zips who had a foot up on WVU, and poured on the offensive attack.
The Zips ultimately scored on a controversial winning goal in the 112th minute, when Tekesky ran into a Zips defender, allowing senior Hazem Shoby to head the ball into the bottom right of the net.
Set pieces — both on the offensive and defensive ends — continue to be a major weakness for the Mountaineers this season. WVU earned eight corner kicks and didn’t connect on a single one, while Akron earned two all night and scored on both.
Next up for the Mountaineers are the Northern Illinois Huskies on Sunday in DeKalb, Illinois. WVU previously bested NIU in Morgantown earlier in the season, 1-0. Kickoff is set for 1:00 p.m.