KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Freshman midfielder Hannah Werth scored the game-winning goal in the 85th minute as the Akron women's soccer team rallied from an early deficit to defeat Virginia Commonwealth, 2-1, Friday evening at Regal Soccer Stadium in the opening game of the First Tennessee Lady Vol Classic.
With the win, the Zips improve to 2-0-0, while VCU falls to 1-1-1 with its loss. The win marks the first time UA has started the season with two straight wins since the 2009 campaign.
"I think it was a good win for us," said Akron interim head coach Vernon Croft. "For us to go down, come back and get the win - that says a lot about the maturity and growth of this team. That's a good VCU team that will contend in their conference this year. Our players were committed to doing what they do well and that is why we earned the result tonight."
UA started the game on the attack by drawing two corner kicks in the first seven minutes, while sophomore midfielder Brianna Kanz and junior defender Amber Kern each had shots blocked by the Ram defense.
After VCU fired three shots off target, Cristin Granados put one on frame and followed up the ensuing rebound at 18:23 to put VCU ahead, 1-0.
VCU kept the pressure on and forced saves from Zips freshman goalkeeper Klaire Adee in the 26th and 28th minutes.
However, the Zips equalized at 36:17 when senior forward Ashley Hughes was in on a breakaway down the center of the park and tucked the ball away to the goalkeeper's right. The goal was Hughes' first of the season. Freshman forward Megan Waskowskisupplied the assist – her first of two on the night.
Just three minutes before halftime, VCU's Aisha Allen hit the crossbar, but Adee was there to turn away the second shot by Jessie Krasko to keep the match level going into the half.
The Zips opened the second half with two corners in the first five minutes. VCU's Breiana White put a header on target in the 61st minute, but it was saved by Adee. Waskowski put UA's second shot on frame with a driven strike in the 65th.
Then with just over five minutes remaining, three freshmen combined for the winner as Werth netted her first collegiate goal to give the Zips the lead at 2-1. Waskowski was again involved in the build-up as she took a pass from classmate Katie George and then passed to Werth for the shot, which went in the top right corner off the crossbar. Both Waskowski and George were credited with assists. Waskowski leads Akron with three assists in her first two collegiate games.
In goal, Adee made seven saves while playing all 90 minutes.
For the match, VCU held the advantage in shots at 15-7, while Akron had the edge in corners, 5-4.
The Zips will be back in action Sunday at the Lady Vol Classic against 2011 NCAA Tournament team William & Mary. Kickoff is set for 12:30 p.m.
Zips Notebook: Hughes' goal was the sixth of her career, which puts her in a tie for 10thplace all-time on Akron's career goal scoring list. Hughes is now tied with Mirka Mohs (2003), Leigh Cullen (2007-10) and current student assistant coach Jordan Clark (2007-11). Waskowski netted two assists and became only the sixth player in Akron women's soccer history to accomplish that feat in a single game. It had occurred seven previous times.