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North Carolina stands in way of Akron's quest
by Paul Kennedy, December 11th, 2009 8:45AM

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[MEN'S COLLEGE CUP] Top-ranked Akron, two games away from becoming the first team in 35 years to go undefeated and untied, meets North Carolina in the semifinals of the Men's College Cup Friday in Cary, N.C. (TV: ESPNU, live, 5:30 pm ET; ESPN2, delay, Saturday, 11 am ET). The Tar Heels, who began the season as the No. 1 team in the Soccer America Preseason Top 25, are formidable foes. In last year's semifinals, UNC knocked off favored Wake Forest, which was picked to repeat as national champion.

Akron coach Caleb Porter, rumored to be headed to MLS's D.C. United after the college season ends, has built one of the most talented teams in recent college soccer history. If they stay together, the Zips should be even tougher in 2010. Only one starter is a senior.

Key Players
Anthony Ampaipitakwong. The midfielder was one of the first players Porter recruited to Akron and he has not disappointed. He was an All-American as a sophomore and is a Hermann Trophy semifinalist as a junior. In the 2009 NCAA Tournament, he has scored three goals from long distance -- two on free kicks.

Alex Dixon. Normally No. 3, Dixon will wear No. 17 at the College Cup after his usual jersey disappeared following the regular-season finale at Clemson. He has scored in three straight games wearing No. 17. Like Ampaipitakwong, Dixon hails from Texas and spent time in the U.S. U-17 residency program.

Akron Probable Lineup
Goalkeeper

24 David Meves, FR. Arlington Heights, Ill.
Defenders
2 Zarek Valentin, FR. Lancaster, Pa.
3 Chad Barson, FR. Lewis Center, Ohio
4 Kofi Sarkodie, SOPH. Huber Heights, Ohio
16 Chris Korb, Jr. Gates Mills, Ohio
Midfielders
7 Blair Gavin, JR. Louisville, Ky.
9 Michael Nanchoff, SOPH. North Royalton, Ohio
10 Anthony Ampaipitakwong, JR. Carrollton, Texas
13 Ben Zemanski, SR. Akron, Ohio
Forwards
6 Darlington Nagbe, SOPH. Lakewood, Ohio
12 Teal Bunbury, SOPH. Prior Lake, Minn.


North Carolina Probable Lineup
Goalkeeper

1 Brooks Haggerty, SR. Cary, N.C.
Defenders
4 Brett King, SOPH. Wilmington, N.C.
5 Zach Loyd, SR. Verdigris, Okla.
14 Jordan Graye, SR. Washington, D.C.
23 Drew McKinney, SR. Cary, N.C.
Midfielders
7 Dustin McCarty, JR. Maitland, Fla.
15 Cameron Brown, JR. Garland, Texas
18 Kirk Urso, SOPH. Lombard, Ill.
19 Michael Farfan, JR. Wildomar, Calif.
Forwards
2 Bill Dworsky, JR. Huntsville, Ala.
17 Alex Dixon, SOPH. Humble, Texas



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