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Bowling Green ties Akron, Remains in First

Published: October 30, 2016

The Bowling Green State University men's soccer team remains in first place in the Mid-American Conference after battling the University of Akron to a 2-2 draw on Saturday night (Oct. 29). The double-overtime match was held at Cochrane Stadium on the BGSU campus.

Sophomore Tate Robertson had a three-point night, scoring the first goal of the match on a long-range strike, then picking up an assist on the Falcons' second goal. Senior Pat Flynn scored that second BGSU goal.  

------M A C   S T A N D I N G S------
Team (Overall) MAC Pts.
BGSU (9-5-3) 2-0-2 8
Akron (8-5-3) 2-1-1 7
Buffalo (10-3-2) 2-1-1 7
Western Mich. (9-4-4) 1-0-3 6
West Virginia (8-6-1) 1-3-0 3
Northern Ill. (1-10-4) 0-3-1 1

For the Zips, Sam Gainford had a goal and an assist.

Saturday's BGSU-UA result leaves the Falcons in first place, ahead of both the Zips and Buffalo by one point. BG will host UB next Saturday night (Nov. 5), and a win over the Bulls would give the Brown and Orange the MAC regular-season title. BGSU was picked to finish fifth in the six-team league in the preseason coaches poll.

Robertson's goal, his first of the season, came with less than seven minutes gone. A BG defender played a long ball toward the Akron penalty area. UA goalkeeper Ben Lundt came off of his line and battled freshman Chris Brennan for the ball in the air. From just inside the 18-yard line, Lundt punched the ball away as he fell to the ground.

The ball bounced toward midfield, and Robertson tracked it down. The Falcon sophomore quickly hit a ball toward goal as Lundt scrambled to his feet. the UA 'keeper, however, was unable to keep the curving, spinning shot nestling inside the upper-right-hand corner of the goal.

Robertson became the 12th different Falcon to score a goal this season.

The Zips equalized in the 19th minute. Gainford gained control of the ball just outside the area, and found Marcel Zajac with a pass. Zajac received the ball approximately 10 yards away from goal, turned and hit a low shot that got past BGSU freshman goalkeeper Anthony Mwembia and rolled into the right side of the net.

But, the Brown and Orange retook the lead just over two minutes later. For the second time on Saturday night, the BG scoring play began when Robertson hit a ball from approximately 35-40 yards out on the right side of the pitch. This time, Robertson's ball found Brennan in the middle of the 18-yard box. Brennan, facing Robertson, headed the ball behind him, and Flynn tracked down the flick-on at the far post. The senior knocked the ball back the other way, and Lundt could not stop his momentum as the shot went past him and into the net on the right side. Brennan and Robertson picked up assists on the play.

The Zips, however, knotted the score less than four minutes later. Zajac took a shot from the left side of the penalty area, and Mwembia blocked the ball at the near post. After the Mwembia save, however, the ball caromed off of a BG player. A handball was called, and a penalty kick was awarded at the 24:05 mark.

Gainford took that PK, and fired a ball toward the left side of the goal. Mwembia, diving to his right, got a hand on the hard shot, but could not keep it from going into the net.

After each team scored twice during that first 24:05, neither team would score during the remaining 85-plus minutes. Lundt made three saves on the night. Mwembia had five stops, and the Falcons were credited with one 'team save' as well.

BGSU had not scored a goal in a home game against Akron, or in a regular-season match with the Zips, in over a decade, since Oct. 20, 2006. The Falcons hadn't scored two goals in a game vs. UA since later in that '06 season, in a MAC Tournament match with the Zips on Nov. 3, 2006.

The Falcons remain undefeated at home this season. BGSU is now 5-0-3 at Cochrane Stadium this fall, and the Falcons have outscored the opponents, 18-5, in those eight matches.

Flynn has singlehandedly outscored the opponents at Cochrane during his Falcon career. Saturday night's goal was his 20th at home since transferring to BGSU prior to the 2014 season. Falcon foes have now scored 18 goals in that time.

Soon after UA's second goal, the Zips were called for a foul and a yellow card just outside the penalty area. But, a free kick by senior Jacob Roth sailed high. Moments later, Lundt went high into the air to grab another Roth free kick in traffic.

Late in the first half, Flynn slid a pass to junior Brad Macomber on the right side of the pitch. Macomber played a curving ball into the box, and senior Joe Sullivan's diving header was on target. But, the shot was hit directly at Lundt, who gratefully grabbed the ball and covered up. The teams went to the half all tied up at 2-2.

Five minutes into the second half, Flynn blocked a clearing attempt by a UA player in the Zips' defensive third of the field. He attempted to work a combination play with Brennan, but just as he received Brennan's return pass, Flynn saw the ball poked away by a defender near the 18-yard line.

Two minutes later, a BG giveaway resulted in UA's Jonathan Lewis heading in on goal. But, his shot was blocked in the box.

In the 57th minute, Roth stepped up to steal an Akron pass near midfield. Roth played the ball ahead to Brennan, who in turn found Flynn. Flynn knocked the ball to Sullivan on the left side of of the box, and Sullivan laid it into the path of the onrushing Robertson. But, the BG soph fired his shot well over the goal.

Midway through the period, the Zips threatened. Gainford fired a low shot toward the far post, but Mwembia made a nifty diving effort to deflect the ball wide. A few minutes later, the Falcons committed a foul just outside the 18-yard box, but a free kick by Adam Najem sailed high. Najem had a game-high five shot attempts, but all of them were either blocked or were off target.

Fourteen minutes remained with another Akron effort was thwarted. UA's Niko DeVera put a shot on frame, but a BG defender, near the goal line, chested it down and cleared it away. That play resulted in a quick counterattack for the Falcons. BG played a long ball toward the other end of the field, and Lundt came well off of his line to track it down. He misfired on his clearing attempt, though, and the ball went to Robert Miller IIInear midfield. Miller settled the ball, but with Lundt out of his net, ,the Falcon freshman was unable to get a shot off before an Akron player knocked the ball away.

With under 11 minutes to go, a Roth free kick found the head of sophomore Moe Mustafa in the box. But, the assistant referee's flag was raised above his head, indicating an offside call on one of the Falcons.

Just over a minute remained when sophomore Peter Pugliese took a pass from Roth and hit a diagonal ball toward the goalmouth. Pugliese's effort wound up sailing on frame, and Lundt grabbed it just underneath the crossbar with a leaping effort.

The Zips quickly countered, and with roughly 45 seconds left, a shot by Zajac forced Mwembia into a diving save, keeping the match tied. The teams headed to overtime.

The Falcons were outshot by a 20-6 count during regulation, and the Zips had nine corners to BG's zero in the game's first 90 minutes. But, in the two OT periods, the Falcons had advantages in both shots (5-2) and corners (2-0).

Early in the first OT period, Mustafa got his head on another long Roth free kick, but this time, the shot was hit directly at Lundt.

Midway through the period, redshirt sophomore Bismark Agyeman worked a give-and-go play with Brennan on the right side. Agyeman received the ball back from Brennan, and slid a cross into the center of the box. Sullivan met the ball and hit a one-time effort, but the hard shot was blocked.

In the final minute of the period, Flynn played a ball ahead for Miller as BGSU looked to counter. Miller, on the run, attempted to split a pair of UA defenders, but he went to the ground as the ball rolled over the end line for a goal kick.

The second overtime saw Miller save a ball from going out of bounds in the UA end of the field. In the first minute of OT, he saved that ball, then hit a cross from the left corner. Flynn met that ball as he made a near-post run, but the senior's shot was knocked out of bounds by a defender.

Off of the ensuing corner kick, the ball was knocked around before Roth tracked it down on the right side of the penalty area. From near the end line, the senior slid a crossing ball back into the danger zone, but it was blocked away.

Midway through the period, the Zips were able to string together six or seven passes as UA worked the ball toward the BG penalty area. Roth nearly stole the ball away from Goncalo Soares, but Soares was able to regain possession, and he quickly fired a shot. That effort, however, sailed over the bar.

With under four minutes to go, a long throw-in by Roth found Robertson in the UA end of the field. Robertson lofted a ball over the UA defense to Sullivan, who was entering the penalty area on the left side. The senior volleyed the ball out of the air, but the shot went just over the bar.

Less than two minutes remained when BG ventured forward again. This time, Brennan received a pass from Pugliese and played a ball to the sophomore as Pugliese made a run into the box. But, as he readied for a shot, a defender poked the ball away.

The ensuing corner kick, off the foot of Sullivan, found Mustafa at the far post. The sophomore got his head on the ball, but his shot went just wide of the right post.

The Zips looked to counter, and Akron had the ball in the BG end were looking to fire a shot as time expired.

Akron had won 18 consecutive meetings with the Falcons prior to Saturday's draw. The Zips have not lost a MAC road match since October of 2006.

Robertson has been involved in the scoring of each of BGSU's last three goals. He had an assist on Sullivan's goal Tuesday night (Oct. 25) at Fort Wayne. Brennan, who also had an assist on that goal, had now recorded a point in back-to-back matches.

The Falcons, as mentioned, host Buffalo next Saturday night (Nov. 5). That match begins at 7:00 p.m., and admission is free.


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