AKRON, Ohio – Fifth-seed SIUE men's soccer dropped a 2-1 decision at fourth-seeded Akron Tuesday in the quarterfinal of the Mid-American Conference Tournament.
SIUE finishes its season at 9-5-4 overall. Akron is 8-6-2 and moves on to face No. 1 West Virginia Friday night.
"It was an interesting season," SIUE Head Coach Mario Sanchez said. "I am happy with the progress we made from last year. We have put ourselves in a good position within the MAC and nationally."
The Cougars and Zips played through a ferocious wind with SIUE having the win against it in the second half.
"Considering the conditions the way they were, we played well," Sanchez said. "A lot came down to the coin toss. We got the goal we wanted with the wind."
Akron jumped on top early. SIUE goalkeeper Noah Heim made a strong kick save on a shot from Ezana Kahsay, but Morgan Hackworth jumped on the rebound and scored from the six-yard box to put Akron in front.
Greg Solawa tied the game for the Cougars in the 18th minute with a curling left-footed strike from the top of the 18-yard box to level the score.
"It was a beautiful goal," Sanchez said. "I am happy for him to get it as a senior. Unfortunately it didn't get us the result we wanted."
The Zips capitalized on a mistake to go back on top in the 33rd minute. Marcel Zajac scored after a giveaway by the Cougar defense in the 18-yard box.
"Unfortunately the goals we allowed came down to individual mistakes," Sanchez said. "The second goal was a killer, to go down 2-1 knowing we're playing into the wind in the second half."
Akron outshot the Cougars 15-4, but took advantage of the wind for a 10-1 margin in the second half.
"The guys showed well and left it all on the field," Sanchez said. "They all have a lot to be proud of."