Akron 3, Connecticut 3 (4-3 PK's)

Nov. 27, 2005

STORRS, Conn. (November 27, 2005) - The fourth-ranked University of Connecticut men's soccer team battled No. 8 Akron to a 3-3 tie through 110 minutes of action, but the Zips edged the Huskies 4-3 in penalty kicks to advance to the NCAA Quarterfinal Round Sunday afternoon at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium in front of 2,015 fans. The match is officially recorded as a tie, giving UConn a final record of 16-3-2 on the year and the Zips a 18-1-3 mark heading into the round of eight where they will face top-seeded Maryland Saturday at 1:00 p.m.

Playing on a muddy and ice-ravaged field, the top two defenses in the country each gave up a season-high three goals to the opposition. Coming into Sunday's game, UConn had only allowed two goals this year in Morrone Stadium, while shutting out 13 of their opponents overall.

Dori Arad (Hahotrim, Israel), Chukwudi Chijindu (Fontana, Calif.) and Ryan Cordeiro (Highland Mills, N.Y.) each managed to break Akron's top-rated defense to net goals for the Huskies. UConn allowed just nine shots and goalkeeper Adam Schuerman (Brookfield, Wis.) made three saves in the loss.

Akron's Sinisa Ubiparipovic scored back-to-back goals in the first half to put the Zips on top. The first came 12 minutes into the game when a foul was committed just outside the penalty box and Yohann Mauger set up to take the free kick. Instead of taking a shot, he tapped the ball to his right and Ubiparipovic sent a well-placed shot just beyond the reach of a leaping Schuerman. Ross McKenzie set up his second tally of the day when he crossed the ball to the middle of the box and Ubiparipovic poked it into the upper right corner of the net.

Arad cut the lead in half late in the 43rd minute off an assist from Kevin Burns (Greenfield, Ind.) for his second goal of the season. Burns sent a free kick into play from some 40 yards out to Arad in the middle of the six-yard box. The freshman midfielder got his head on it and sent a low ball into the left side to bring the score to 2-1.

After trailing at the half for just the fourth time this season, the Huskies came out hard in the second frame, out-shooting the Zips 9-2 in the period and forcing a 2-0 corner kick advantage. O'Brian White (Scarborough, Ontario, Canada) and Chijindu combined for several near misses before the scoring tandem set up the equalizer in the 51st minute. White crossed the ball into the middle of the pitch and Chijindu headed it in from six yards out to even out the score at two-all.

Matt Augustin regained the lead for Akron at the 76:35 mark off an assist from Geir Nyheim, but the Huskies quickly tied the contest just over four minutes later. Chijindu played the ball from the far corner into the middle of the penalty box for Cordeiro to shoot into the back of the net and send the team into overtime for just the third time this season.

Neither team afforded the other many chances to score in the overtime periods, though four of Akron.s nine shots came after regulation. McKenzie came up with the closest opportunity in the second overtime, sending a rocket shot towards the goal, hitting the right post. Schuerman made two of his three saves in the second extra period, stopping close calls by Mauger and Amico DiFranco.

With the score still 3-3 after 110 minutes of play, the teams headed into penalty kicks where the Zips came away with the 4-3 advantage. It came down to the wire, with Akron's McKenzie putting in the winning kick in the fifth and final round.

The Huskies held a 2-1 lead going into the third round with PK.s from Karl Schilling (Canton, Conn.) and Burns and a save by Schuerman to stop Mauger's shot. UConn missed its next two shots, however, and Akron went ahead 3-2 going into the final round. Arad tied it up at 3-3, but McKenzie couldn't be stopped, scoring the fourth penalty kick to give the Zips the opportunity to advance to the next round of the NCAA Tournament.

--Courtesy of Connecticut Athletics