The Owls men’s soccer team had their four-game unbeaten streak snapped Saturday night at the hands of the nationally No. 1-ranked team, the Akron Zips. The Zips came out firing early in the Owls’ conference opener, scoring all three of the match’s goals in the first half.
The Owls started off sluggish defensively, as Zips’ midfielder Michael Nanchoff found forward Teal Bunbury two minutes into the game for the first of Bunbury’s brace. The team tightened up, but gave up two more scores in the final 15 minutes of the half.
While the Owls struggled defensively, they did not seem to get much going offensively, either, as they were held to just one shot attempt. Goalkeeper Jeremy Crumpton did not get a save until early in the second half, where he made two of his four saves on the same play.
The Owls came out in the second half with the intensity that they lacked early on. They held Akron scoreless for the half, but still could not muster up much offensively.
Things got physical late in the game as the Owls’ frustration began to show. Forward Darnell King, who has been very impressive in recent games, was given a red card when he lost his cool after getting tangled up with a Zips player.
Despite the loss of King, Head Coach Kos Donev was optimistic about the 3-0 defeat.
“While none of us are satisfied with losing, I was very proud of our effort and the way we came out and played in the second half,” said Donev.
Donev knows that whether or not the Zips were ranked No. 1, a win over a conference foe would have been pivotal to the Owls as they begin Mid-American Conference play.
Donev said: “We have to be realistic. We didn’t only play a No. 1 team, we played a conference opponent.”
The Owls fell to 4-3-2 overall and 0-1 in MAC play as they get ready for next Saturday’s match in Oneonta, N.Y., against the Hartwick Hawks.