#5 Marshall beats Akron at home

Published: Sep. 21, 2021 at 11:04 PM EDT
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – The 5th-ranked Marshall men’s soccer team scored a 2-0 victory over No. 20 Akron Tuesday night for the Herd’s second clean sheet of the season. Seniors Vitor Dias and Vinicius Fernandes scored in the win.

The Thundering Herd improves to 4-1-2 while the Zips fall to 4-2-1.

“We definitely needed the win tonight,” Herd head coach Chris Grassie said. “We played three top 20 teams from the MAC in Bowling Green, WVU and Akron. Two wins and a tie from that stretch is fantastic.

“We talked to the guys about this game being a fight and it really was today. You saw how open the game was at times. I think we had about seven or eight breakaways, they had three or four that they could have had pretty good goals. And I think we had to pick those moments to fight and those moments to play. It was important for us to stay mentally focused. The guys were definitely up for the fight today and did a great job.”

Marshall went on the attack early, going after the Zips with heavy pressure. Akron’s defense was up to the challenge, clearing out several attempts. The Herd’s first shot on goal came in the 14th minute from Dias but was stopped by the Zips’ keeper, Will Meyer. Freshman Paulo Lino had a chance in the 28th minute that was also an Akron save.

In the 31st minute, the Herd applied the pressure again as fifth-year senior Pedro Dolabella sent a pass to Fernandes who gave a quick touch to Dias for the finish. Dias tied Fernandes for the team-lead with his fourth goal of the season and 13th of his career. Dolabella recorded his fourth assist of the season and 14th of his career, tied for 10th all-time in Marshall history. Fernandes also netted his fourth assist of the year and 10th of his career.

The teams went in at the break with the Herd leading 1-0. Marshall outshot Akron only 4-3 in the half, however none of the Zips’ shots were on goal.

In the second half Marshall did not let off the gas. Almost two minutes in, redshirt junior Milo Yosef fired a shot that was saved by Meyer. The Herd’s offense kept pushing as Dias had shot that missed high in the 50th minute, yet just 51 seconds later, Yosef found Dias on the far side who made a nice cross to the charging Fernandes to beat the keeper into the near corner. Fernandes retook the team lead in scoring with his fifth goal of the year and 13th of his career. Dias is now the team leader in assists with five and has 15 in his career putting his into a tie for sixth place all-time in program history. Yosef, who was also credited with an assist, tallied his second of the season and eighth of his career.

Even with the 2-0 lead, Marshall did not stop. Not even two minutes after the second goal, Dias had a chance but it was saved. Akron began to try and put on some pressure in a comeback attempt. The Zips first shot on goal came in the 58th minute and stopped by senior goalkeeper Oliver Semmle. The senior made another great save in the 68th minute.

In the 73rd minute, the Herd was inches away from netting a third goal when senior made a nice lifting shot over Meyer who was outside of the 18-yard box. Meyer then went sprinting after the ball and was able to tap the ball away just before crossing the goal line.

The Herd finished the match with 10 total shots and seven on goal. Dias had four shots with three on goal. The Zips totaled 11 shots but only two on goal.

Marshall stays home for two more matches as No. 10 Kentucky comes to Hoops Family Field on Saturday with a 7 p.m. kickoff. Then the Herd will take on Butler on Wednesday, Sept. 29 also at 7 p.m., before going back out on the road at Old Dominion (Oct. 3).

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