Men's Soccer Travels to Face No. 8 Akron in Exhibition|
Aug 19, 2013
Date: Aug. 20, 2013
Huntington, W.Va. - With numerous story lines to be found among the 2013 Marshall men's soccer team, Coach Bob Gray will test out one of them -- his team's youth -- in an exhibition match on the road against an Akron squad that is No. 8 in the NSCAA preseason rankings.
Gray is fielding the youngest team he has had in his 19 years as the helm of the Marshall men's program. Fifteen of the 28 roster spots are filled by freshmen.
The Zips enter the match after a 2012 season in which they reached a fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament round of 16. Akron won the NCAA championship in 2010.
In 2012, Marshall started off hot with a 10-1-1 mark, but the Herd struggled down the stretch by dropping four of its last five matches to finish 11-5-1 and one win shy of making the C-USA Tournament field.
In the preseason Conference USA Men's Soccer Poll voted on by the league's coaches, Marshall was picked to finish ninth of 10 conference members. The Herd collected 23 points in the poll.
Among the youth-infused Marshall roster is a quartet of seniors who can guide the Herd through growing pains that are expected to come with inexperience. Travis Brent, Zach Hunter, Cody Partyka and Anthony Virgara have played in a combined 180 games in kelly green to give Gray and the rest of the Marshall coaching staff added comfort throughout the season.
Marshall and Akron last met in 2004 in Huntington, a scoreless draw. The lone Herd victory over the Zips came during the 2000 season, when Marshall won 3-2 at home.
The Herd opens its new $8 million Veterans Memorial Soccer Complex on Friday with a 5 p.m. match against an MU Alumni Team.
In-game Twitter updates (@HerdMSoccer), results and a recap from the day's action will be available at www.HerdZone.com.