[MID-AMERICAN] Western Michigan pulled one of the biggest upsets of the season when it shocked defending national champion Akron, winner of the last four
Mid-American titles, with a 4-3 shootout win after their game ended in a 1-1 tie in Friday's conference tournament semifinals.
The Zips (13-3-4) outshot the Broncos 10-3 in the first half and 22-10 overall and held a 1-0 lead with six minutes left in regulation when Doug Raak flicked a free kick from Darren Jones over the head of UA goalkeeper David Meves from 12 yards out. Akron had broken the scoreless tie in the 64th minute when Matt Dagilis finished a header off a cross.
Scott Caldwell and Darren Mattocks, two holdovers from last year's national championship team, missed on their penalties, while WMU (6-11-3) converted all four picks to move into Sunday's final against Northern Illinois, a 1-0 winner over Buffalo.
“I am absolutely delighted for everyone connected with the program,” said Western Michigan coach Stu Riddle. “The players were terrific tonight sticking to and implementing the game plan. We continue to show fantastic resilience to come from behind and win against a quality team like Akron, at their home field in such an important game shows tremendous character.”
“I told the players this is the best moment of my soccer career and they will remember this for the rest of their lives. It will be even sweeter if we can regroup and refocus and bring back the MAC title.”
Note: The result goes down as a draw, meaning Akron matched Indiana for the third-longest conference unbeaten streak in NCAA history at 38 games.