Sunday, October 31, 2010

Catching Up 10/31/10

This weekend was the most disappointing weekend of the year. Quick note of warning: Anger and severe sarcasm may be detected below.

Men's Soccer:
It happened. The #1 University of Akron men's soccer team was upset 2-1 by 8-9-0 Cleveland State on Saturday, despite leading in shots (12-6) and shots on goal (6-2). At 14-1-1, all this really means is that the Zips may lose the #1 seed in the tournament. The home unbeaten streak continues, and as long as we see the Zips team that outscored the #2, 3, and 4 teams in the country 9-0 show up in the NCAA tournament, the championship is definitely still attainable.

The volleyball team dropped in four sets to Miami, but fought to a five-set win over Bowling Green the next day. After a magnificent start to the season, the team has sunk to 14-10 this season, just 6-6 in MAC play. They return to James A. Rhodes Arena this weekend for matchups against 10-17 (3-9 MAC) Kent State and 15-10 (7-5 MAC) Ohio.

Women's Soccer:
After extending their unbeaten streak to 5 games by defeating Ohio 1-0 to close out the regular season, the lady Zips dropped to Miami 2-0 in the first round of the MAC tournament. This ended their season with a 7-11-1 record. The women's soccer team is still a work-in-progress, and can improve on this semi-successful season by working more on controlling possession. I'd like to see Caleb Porter's "Death by 1000 passes" motto start to rub off on the women's soccer team.

This is getting annoying to blog about, but Akron's 30-0 defeat at the hands of the Temple Owls is a little better than last week's 56-10 drubbing from Western Michigan.

For once, the Zips defense looked like a defense. The score at the end of the half was 6-0. Unfortunately, Temple has a heck of a defense, and Patrick Nicely was pretty awful once again (15-26, 134 YDS, INT). Alex Allen (10 CAR, 30 YDS) and Nate Burney (7 CAR, 14 YDS) couldn't get much going, either. Zack Campbell was once again my MVP with 10 punts for 383 yards.

Quote from head coach Rob Ianello, from

"We are establishing a foundation for how we are going to do things, and we are establishing a foundation for a program and we are going to get this thing pointed in the right direction, we just need to keep working towards improvement."

Ianello has literally stated nine different variations of that quote this year, one after each loss. Tune in next weekend for the tenth variation, unless the Zips can pull off their best chance for a not-winless season against Ball State.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Roo News 10/28/10

1) The men's soccer team squeaked out a 1-0 victory over #9 Creighton yesterday. The Zips home unbeaten streak is now 34 games, and this was Creighton's first regular season road loss since 2006. The atmosphere at the game was tense, as the Blue Jays outplayed Akron for the majority of the first half. The second half swung the way of the home team, and a 63rd minute goal from Darlington Nagbe, his 6th of the year, sealed the deal. Darren Mattocks had an off game, but still looked incredible.

2) Some notes from Rob Ianello's weekly press conference:

- This week's game against Temple is going to be a "heck of a challenge for us". Pretty obvious.

- He has a lot of respect for Al Golden and what he's done with Temple. Sounds like Al Golden is who Rob Ianello wants to be when he grows up.

- We haven't played our best game yet.

- He hasn't really looked at the attendance figures (last week's was just above 10,000, not even a third of capacity) because it's not his responsibility, he's responsible for the product on the field. We call this blame-passing where I'm from.

- Our program has had significant improvements made, but those are all behind closed doors and haven't made it to the scoreboard yet.

- Rodgers, LaFrance, and Ladrach are out, Holmes is questionable.

- Freshman quarterback Dylan Potts had his redshirt burned last week because Rodgers is out, and he wants to get Potts some game experience. This is good. Nicely has been ghastly this year (dead last in the nation in passer rating) and Rodgers will be a senior next year.

3) At 0-8, the football team is officially (statistically and according to ESPN's Bottom 10) the worst team in the nation, and currently shares the winless title with only the New Mexico Lobos.

4) The women's basketball team has been projected to finish fourth in the MAC East this year, after an all time best record of 18-14 (11-5 MAC) last year.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Catching Up 10/26/10

Thanks to Family Weekend here at the University of Akron, we were all treated to a magnificent slew of athletic events resulting in a horribly delayed, why-the-heck-did-this-guy-take-this-long-to-update-this-blog, Catching Up post. Here we go.

Men's Soccer:
The men clinched the MAC title with a 2-1 victory over Western Michigan Saturday night. The game wasn't nearly as close as the score would suggest, as the Broncos crammed 10 players in their half of the field in order to attempt a draw or a lucky 1-goal win. The Zips outshot Western Michigan 13-3; but after the dominating 7-1 win over Michigan earlier in the week, the performance of the team can only be described as disappointing. Highlights are below.

Two disappointing losses this weekend.

and five sets to Eastern Michigan. The losses drop the team to 13-9 (5-5 in MAC), but they still sit at the top of the weak MAC East.

Women's Soccer:
The weekend featured a tough but exciting double OT 2-1 win over Kent State (KSUcks!) and a 3-0 beatdown of Buffalo. After the UA football-esque start to the season, the lady Zips are now 6-10-1 (4-5-1 in MAC) and have clinched a spot in the MAC tournament with these two latest victories. Overall, the team is playing better defensively, but still looks sloppy on offense.

It is my obligation as a blogger to write about the football team, so I will; but this is getting tiring. Not only do I look dumb for predicting 6 wins this season, but the embarrassment is gradually getting worse week by week. At 0-4, after a close game with Indiana, there was hope that things would change once MAC play began. Last week, at 0-7, we became the first team in the FBS to become bowl ineligible; and last but not least, this Saturday against 2-4 Western Michigan...

You see? I can hardly even bring myself to say it. Suffice it to say we lost pretty handily. As in, 56-10 handily. As in, our only touchdown came on a 57 yard fumble recovery from Brian Wagner handily. As in, Patrick Nicely decided to toss the ball to a waiting defender in the endzone for 6 points rather than take a safety for 2 points handily.


The effort from the secondary on Saturday was nonexistent. Western Michigan's freshman QB Alex Carter was 17-24 for 372 yards and 5 touchdowns. What about Patrick Nicely? Well, he was an impressive 12-24 for 120 yards and an interception. I should also probably mention that one of those passes went for 56 yards. Without that pass, Nicely was 11-23 for 64 yards and an interception.

In case you haven't been following along, here is the Nicely/Rodgers comparison at this point in the season:

Patrick Nicely-103/244, 1048 YDS, 3 TD, 9 INT, 86.4 RAT
Matt Rodgers-7/11, 95 YDS, 2 TD, INT, 178.0 RAT

As always, I am including the performance of this year's MVP of the team:
Zack Campbell-6 punts, 233 YDS

At 0-8 (0-4 in MAC), the Zips are easily in the bottom 5 of the nation and easily the worst in the MAC.

Next week is an away game at 6-2 Temple.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Roo News 10/21/10

1) Sorry for taking so long with this update. Am I the only one that's still having midterms 2/3 of the way through the semester? Please tell me I'm not alone....

2) Michigan has a new Ohio opponent. Kofi Sarkodie's hat trick led the Zips men's soccer team to a 7-1 victory over Michigan on Tuesday. I'll pause for a second to let that sink in...

That's right. 7-1. The first Akron goals came in the 10th and 18th minutes, both from Sarkodie. Michigan made it close with a 32nd minute goal off of a free kick. That lasted two minutes. The Zips scored in the 35th, 55th, 77th, 80th, and 89th minutes.

A frustrated Michigan team just got downright dirty in the second half, registering two yellows and two horribly flagrant slide tackles that resulted in red cards. They also had one yellow in the first half.

3) Some notes from Zips football coach Rob Ianello during his weekly press conference this week:

- The coaching staff does not plan on burning any redshirts for the remainder of the season.

- After being reminded of the team's awful pass defense, and that this Saturday's opponent Western Michigan is a pass-heavy team, Ianello said he believes that the Broncos will come out and run.

- Gary Pride is having issues with his ankle, further limiting Nicely's receiving options.

- The biggest issue for our young wide receivers is adjusting to no longer being one of the best on the team.

- Wants us to start doing the things that good football teams do (d'oh!). Said that if we execute well this week, we'll (cough) start taking steps in a positive direction. A single win would be nice...

- Is confident that things will be much better the second time around due to familiarity. Personally, I'm still not sure that firing Brookhart was a good idea, but at least it was done quickly so that the players could get used to Ianello's offseason system.

4) SportsTime Ohio comes through again, saving all the fans of the MAC schools from only seeing their teams on television once a year. A total of 34 basketball games (men's and women's) will be shown on STO during the 2010-2011 season. Another 13 will be nationally televised on ESPN.

For the Zips, three women's games will be shown, all home games:
01/08/11: Ohio @ Akron, 12pm
01/22/11: Eastern Michigan @ Akron, 5pm
02/12/11: Ball State @ Akron, 5pm

Seven men's games will be shown on STO, and one on ESPNU (denoted below):
11/24/10: Cleveland State @ Akron, 7pm
01/08/11: Kent State @ Akron, 7pm
01/16/11: Akron @ Buffalo, 2pm
01/22/11: Bowling Green @ Akron, 7:30pm
01/26/11: Akron @ Northern Illinois, 7:30pm
01/30/11: Central Michigan @ Akron, 6pm, ESPNU
02/09/11: Western Michigan @ Akron, 7:30pm
02/12/11: Ball State @ Akron, 7:30pm

The MAC quarterfinals and semifinals will also be shown on STO, while the championship will once again air on ESPN2. You can see the full listing here.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Roo News 10/17/10

1) I'll just get this over with. The football team lost 38-10 yesterday to Ohio. This makes them 0-7, 0-3 in the MAC. The game was never close (24-0 at one point); and once again, Akron's statline is horrible. Let's start with rushing.

Nate Burney-12 CAR, 32 YDS
Alex Allen-7 CAR, 29 YDS
Patrick Nicely-3 CAR, 43 YDS
Matt Rodgers-1 CAR, 5 YDS

The big question here is, why is Alex Allen only carrying the ball 7 times? I'm not saying Burney's a bad running back. He should definitely be getting some carries; but Alex Allen has proven himself to be the better (or at least more useful) back at this point.

Richard Hall-4 REC, 48 YDS
Alex Allen-4 REC, 25 YDS
Antoine Russell-3 REC, 54 YDS
Gary Pride-3 REC, 14 YDS
Jalil Carter-2 REC, 25 YDS
Nate Burney-2 REC, 18 YDS
Austin Bailey-2 REC, 13 YDS
Anthony Meriwether-1 REC, 9 YDS

I like this. With Jeremy LaFrance beat up, it's good to see that we have some people stepping up.

Patrick Nicely-16/29, 159 YDS, 2 INT
Matt Rodgers-5/5, 47 YDS, TD

I would never have guessed that Nicely would have the kind of season that he's having. I think it's time for a quarterback change. At 0-7, Ianello doesn't have to worry about position consistency now. I was one of the first to jump on the Nicely bandwagon, but this is the second time that Rodgers has come in (we had 3 points on both occasions) and led a nice drive for a touchdown. He's earned his chance.

And now for the running "punter is better than the rest of the team" joke:

Zack Campbell-5 punts, 187 YDS

Here's an awful interview from Ianello:

We didn't play well on offense. I don't think we played well on defense, and we didn't play very well on special teams. I didn't see anything we did well out here today. It's my job to motivate the team. It's my job to get the team ready to play, and it didn't appear to me today that we were ready to play, for whatever reason. I don't know whether it was a hangover from last week (rivalry game at Kent State) or not. I would hate to think that.

Coach, your team hasn't been ready to play for six straight games and you're ticked when they don't show up for a seventh? It's time to stop trying to win this season and start thinking about not starting 0-7 next season.

2) Buffalo didn't stand a chance. Darren Mattocks' hat trick yesterday allowed the Zips men's soccer team to cruise to a 4-0 victory. The Zips outshot the Bulls 22-2. Neither of Buffalo's two shots were close. Oh yeah, also, Buffalo didn't have a single corner kick. After this specimen of domination, the Zips are 4-0 at home, outscoring opponents 15-0. The other Zips goal (and the first goal, coming in the 21st minute) came from Michael Nanchoff, who now has four on the season. Mattocks has 10. Here are the highlights:

Akron is now 11-0-1.

3) The volleyball team fell to 13-7 (5-3) after dropping in three sets to Western Michigan. Next up are two home matches against Central Michigan (7-11, 1-5 in MAC) and Eastern Michigan (17-6, 4-2 in MAC).

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Men's Soccer Wins Again

Penn State put up a fight, but the #1 Akron Zips men's soccer team pulled out a 2-1 victory in double overtime yesterday. This game was the closest we have seen this year in terms of shots (17-15 Akron), shots on goal (6-4 Akron), and corner kicks (9-4 Penn State). Penn State's only goal came in the 6th minute, right before Darlington Nagbe fired back with his fourth goal of the season just one minute and four seconds later.

How's that for a comeback?

Michael Nanchoff scored the game winning penalty in the second OT after Darlington Nagbe was taken out in the box. It was his third goal of the year. Also, news flash: Coach Porter finally shows some emotion!

Did you see the hint of a cocky smirk when he answered? Who knew he had it in him?

This win moves the Zips to 10-0-1 (man, that Ohio State tie just sticks in the craw, doesn't it?) and are now 57-0-1 under Coach Porter when scoring two goals in a match (man, that Ohio State tie just stick in the craw, doesn't it?)

The men's soccer team also has the lone sporting event of the weekend when they play visiting Buffalo (5-6-1) Saturday night at 7:30.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Catching Up 10/10/10

Another busy week for me, another attempt to catch readers up on everything that happened this last week.

Men's Soccer:
After defeating Northern Illinois 1-0 earlier this week, the #1 men's soccer team now stands at 9-0-1 (3-0-0 in MAC). Goalkeeper David Meves and Hermann candidate midfielder Anthony Ampaipatakwong are a bit beaten up at the moment, but the reserves are filling in superbly. Backup keeper Anthony Ponikvar stepped into the game against NIU to record 5 saves in 40 minutes, keeping the Huskies without a goal. Next up is a game at Penn State.

The volleyball team crushed Buffalo in three sets, but fell in five to Toledo yesterday. They are still 13-5 (5-1 in MAC). A tough road trip to 17-2 (3-1) Northern Illinois and 12-5 (3-1) Western Michigan is next.

Women's Soccer:
At least with their 3-10-0 (1-5-0) record, they have one more win than Kent State and Buffalo combined. The lady Zips are continuing with their poor offensive play, much of which is caused by poor control of the ball. They looked great in the 1-0 loss to Northern Illinois on Friday, but gave up two goals early against Western Michigan earlier today before falling 3-1. Next up are away matches against Bowling Green and Miami.


The defense was spectacular against Kent State yesterday. Two of Kent State's touchdowns came from Akron turnovers. The worst part about the game was that Akron had a lot of chances to win it in the fourth quarter; and as has been the case this year, the offense was fired up enough to punch out the following drives in the final quarter:

3 plays, 7 yards, fumble
5 plays, 7 yards, punt
3 plays, 4 yards, fumble
2 plays, 15 yards, interception
1 play, 0 yards, interception

The bad: See above, and Patrick Nicely (16-33, 133 YDS, 3 INT)

The decent: Alex Allen (14 CAR, 51 YDS, TD) and Jeremy LaFrance (6 REC, 75 YDS)

The great: Zack Campbell (7 punts, 321 YDS)

On the bright side, they still have a chance to become bowl eligible.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Catching Up 10/4/10

The last few blog entries have been a bit chaotic, so it's time to check on the status of all the major Zips sports, from best to worst.

Men's Soccer:
What's not to love about Caleb Porter and the men's soccer team? They sit at 7-0-1, #1 in the country, and have outscored the #2, #3, and #4 teams in the nation 9-0, with only the matchup against #2 Tulsa at Lee Jackson Field. The only danger for a while is the away matchup against Northern Illinois this Saturday. The Huskies are a physical team that always put up a good fight.

After winning nine games in a row, they now sit at 12-4 (4-0 in MAC play). The Zips face a tough away matchup against 13-7 (1-3) Buffalo before returning home to play 5-9 (0-4) Toledo.

Women's Soccer:
The preseason favorites of the MAC East Conference are now 3-8-0 (1-3-0 in the MAC), with two home games (Northern Illinois and Western Michigan) this weekend.

They're 0-5, and in the bottom 10 of everybody's mind. The football team is an absolute laughingstock thus far, and Rob Ianello is urging for patience from the fans. I, for one, am not sure how he sees improvement in giving up six straight touchdown drives in multiple games this year; and with Patrick Nicely throwing 127 yards a game, they aren't going anywhere soon.

Sunday, October 3, 2010



Northern Illinois is a great team this year. But 50-14? I am bewildered. I have no idea where to begin. I suppose I'll start with this:

Northern Illinois-Rushing: 228 YDS
Akron-Total Offense: 257 YDS

The biggest cheer in the stadium came during a replay of Domenik Hixon's game-winning TD catch from the MAC Championship 5 years ago.

The offense was terrible. The defense was terrible. The only good thing during that game yesterday was the soft pretzel I bought at halftime. Oh, and:

Zack Campbell-7 Punts, 255 YDS
Alex Allen-14 CAR, 99 YDS, 2 TD

The only two Akron touchdowns came from a muffed punt on the 11 yard line (capped by a 1 yard run from Allen), and a drive consisting of three runs from Allen (74, 0, 1). Here are the rest of the drives:

6 plays, 16 yards, punt
3 plays, 6 yards, punt
7 plays, 26 yards, punt
3 plays, 8 yards, punt
1 play, 0 yards, interception
6 plays, 41 yards, missed field goal
3 plays, 3 yards, punt
7 plays, 7 yards, punt
7 plays, 37 yards, punt
5 plays, 18 yards, interception

But we have soccer.