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Akron set to face Stanford in NCAA Men’s College Cup semifinals

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(Via University of Akron) – Fourth-seeded Akron continues its quest to capture its second-ever NCAA Championship on Friday, Dec. 11, as the Zips battle eighth-seeded Stanford in the second semifinal of the NCAA College Cup at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan.

Game time is set for approximately 8:36 p.m. ET. ESPNU and Watch ESPN will carry the game with Glenn Davis and Taylor Twellman calling the action. Clemson will face Syracuse in the other College Cup semifinal at 6:06 p.m. ET on Friday, Dec. 11.

+Read: NCAA Men’s College Cup Semifinal Notes: Clemson vs. Syracuse

Akron maintains an 25-24-7 mark in 56 matches in NCAA Championship history, including capturing the school’s first national championship in any sport in 2010. The Zips are 4-1-1 under head coach Jared Embick. Since 2005, Akron owns a 16-4-7 ledger.

Senior Andrew Souders (Amherst, Ohio) is Akron’s active leader in NCAA Tournament games started (7). Sophomore Stuart Holthusen (Auckland, New Zealand) own a team-high three goals each in career tournament play, while juniors Adam Najem (Clifton, N.J. and Victor Souto (Sao Paulo, Brazil), sophomore Richie Laryea (Toronto, Ontario (Canada)), and redshirt junior Goncalo Soares (Lisbon, Portugal) have recorded two, two, two and one tournament goal(s) in their Akron careers. Najem has registered a team-best four tournament assists as a Zip, while recording two, one and one helper, respectively, has been Laryea, Holthusen and senior Sean Sepe (West Islip, N.Y.). Najem enters action versus Stanford as the team’s NCAA Tournament career scoring leader with eight points on the strength of two goals and four assists.

Najem has recorded a team-best 20 shots, including 10 on goal. Najem, Holthusen, Laryea, Sepe, Souto, redshirt sophomore Robby Dambrot (Akron, Ohio), Soares, senior Brad Ruhaak (Akron, Ohio), sophomore Adi Dakwar (Fassouta, Israel ), redshirt sophomore Sam Gainford (Liverpool, England), sophomore Anthony Macchione (Camas, Wash.), sophomore Jesse Garcia-Aguilar (Portland, Ore.), redshirt junior Danilo Radjen (Broadview Heights, Ohio), redshirt sophomore Tyler Sanda (North Royalton, Ohio), sophomore Nate Shultz (Mayfield, Ohio), Souders, have recorded 20, 16, 11, 12, six, six, five, five, three, three, two, one, one, one, one and one shot, respectively. In six NCAA Tournament starts in goal, senior Jake Fenlason (San Diego, Calif.) has made 33 saves.

Akron maintains 2-0-1 all-time mark in College Cup semifinal contests. The Zips bettered Fresno State, 1-0, in 1986, and Michigan, 2-1, in 2010, while earning a 0-0 double-overtime draw with North Carolina in 2009.

When postseason play began, the Zips joined an elite group of just five Division I programs that have qualified for the NCAA Championships in each of the past nine seasons. Only Indiana, Maryland, UCLA, and Virginia can share that claim.

The Zips have met Stanford one other time in NCAA Championship play with Akron registering a 2-0 victory in the third round of the NCAA Tournament on Nov. 29, 2009, at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field.

• The Zips are meeting a team from the Pac-12 Conference for the second time this season after suffering a 4-2 home setback versus UCLA on Nov. 1. Akron played that contest against the Bruins without two starters in then leading scorer Richie Laryea (card accumulation) and redshirt junior Danilo Radjen (injury).
• In all, Akron is 3-4-1 (.438) versus teams from the Pac-12 Conference.
• The Zips are encountering a Pac-12 team in NCAA Tournament play for the third time. Akron bested Stanford, 2-0, in 2009, before garnering a 3-3 double-overtime draw with California in 2010. The Zips advanced to the College Cup in 2010 after outlasting the Bears in penalty kicks, 3-2.

Stanford (17-2-2) enters its showdown versus Akron on Friday, Dec. 11, having earned 3-1, 3-1 and 2-1 victories over Santa Clara, Ohio State and top-seeded Wake Forest in the first three rounds of the NCAA Tournament. The Cardinal own a 4-1-0 mark in their last five games. Junior Jordan Morris leads Stanford’s offensive efforts having recorded team-high marks in goals (11), points (25), shots (53), shots on goal (28) and game-winners (5). Junior Eric Verso and sophomore Corey Baird own 12 and 11 assists, respectively, to lead the Cardinal. Junior Andrew Epstein owns the majority of minutes in goal for Stanford this season and has recorded 56 saves, while owning a 0.69 goals against average and nine shutouts. As a team, the Cardinal are rated second, seventh, ninth, 11th, 14th, 14th, 20th, 24th, 27th, 28th, 29th and 41st in the NCAA in winning percentage (.857), total assists (44), assists per game (2.10), team goals against average (0.69), points per contest (5.81), total points (122), total goals (39), scoring offense (1.86), shutout percentage (0.43), shots per game (14.90), shots on goal per contest (6.33) and save percentage (.795).

Friday evening’s game is the third meeting between Akron and Stanford. The Zips lead the all-time series, 2-0-0. Akron posted a 4-3 overtime decision at Stanford on Oct. 2, 1994, while besting the Cardinal, 2-0, in the third round of the NCAA Tournament on Nov. 29, 2009.

Stanford: Jeremy Gunn is in his fourth season as head coach of the Stanford program, owning a 49-20-10 (.684) record. In 17 years overall as a head coach he maintains a 236-81-41 (.716) ledger.

Akron: In his third year on the Akron sidelines as head coach, and ninth season overall, is Jared Embick, who has a 48-13-5 mark (.765), including 95-34-15 (.712) overall, in his seventh year as a head coach.

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