AKRON, Ohio – A valiant second-half comeback by the Indiana men's soccer team fell just short as the Hoosiers dropped a 3-2 decision to Akron Thursday night at FirstEnergy Stadium-Cub Cadet Field in Akron, Ohio in round one of the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
The Hoosiers finish the season at 8-12-2, while Akron improves to 17-3-1.
"It's really hard right now to see the faces of the seniors," said head coach Todd Yeagley. "But when it comes to what we asked them to do, the pride and the level of play we put out there, we left it all on the field.
"I think the loser tonight was college soccer as I don't think these two teams should have met at this point. Akron is an excellent soccer team and that was a high-end college soccer game."
Akron took a 1-0 lead in the seventh minute as Reinaldo Brenes took advantage of goalkeeper Colin Webb off his line, slipping the ball under Webb for the score.
Indiana's first shot came off the boot of Harrison Petts in the 15th minute. After a collision in the box with Femi Hollinger-Janzen, the ball fell to Petts. With the goalkeeper out, Petts shot on an open net was wide left.
A.J. Corrado sent in a long ball and Tommy Thompson ran onto it, setting up a perfect 1v1 opportunity. Akron goalkeeper Jake Fenlason came off his line and got big, blocking the shot attempt. With 22 minutes to play Hollinger-Janzen had an open look on frame but curled his shot wide right.
Akron's offensive pressure went for naught as the Zips took a 2-0 lead in the 24th minute when Aodhan Quinn lofted the ball into the upper 90 after Webb had come off his line to punch an attempt out.
Indiana got shots from Dylan Lax and Nikita Kotlov, with Lax's header right at Fenlason and Kotlov's shot wide. It looked as if the Zips had taken a three-goal lead in the 37th minute when Brenes hit a shot that looked to go off the bar and in, but it was ruled the ball never crossed the line and was cleared out by Jacob Bushue with a bicycle kick.
Indiana went into the break trailing by two goals. A wide-open game saw 22 combined shots, with nine coming off the feet of the Hoosiers. Kotlov and Petts led the way with two each.
Akron came out in the second half and added to its lead early with Brenes' second of the game giving the Zips a 3-0 lead in the 48th minute. Two minutes later Indiana had a golden chance to get on the board, but Hollinger-Janzen's shot was saved, and the rebound to Thompson was also saved at close range by Fenlason.
The tide turned for Indiana in the 52nd minute as the Hoosiers quickly scored a pair of goals to get back to a 3-2 deficit. Dylan Lax got IU on the board early with a header off Patrick Doody's corner kick at 51:02. At 52:44 it became a two-goal game when Doody sent in another corner kick, this one finding the head of Thompson who sent it off the cross bar. The rebound came out to Jacob Bushue, and his shot found the back of the net for his third goal of the season.
Lax's goal was his first career score, while Thompson picked up his third assist of the season on the Bushue score. Bushue had a header on a corner kick from A.J. Corrado in the 69th minute but it was right at Fenlason for the save.
Akron's first good look since its early second-half goal came in the 79th minute when Matt Foldesy had an open goal and shanked his shot over the cross bar.
In the end the Hoosiers out-shot Akron 14-4 in the second half and 23-17 for the game. Indiana also had a 7-2 shots on goal advantage in the second half, 9-7 for the game. Corner kicks also fell in favor of Indiana 8-7 for the match including 6-1 in the second half.
The game marked the final time in the Cream and Crimson for seniors Bushue, Corrado, Kotlov, McKain and Petts. This senior class leaves having won every title possible with a Big Ten regular season championship in 2010, an NCAA Championship in 2012 and a Big Ten Tournament title in 2013.