AKRON The Akron Zips men's soccer team is headed to California.
If the first leg of the journey goes well, the Zips will be making a repeat trip to the Golden State in a week’s time.
A 1-0 upset win over top-seeded Wake Forest in the third round of the NCAA Division I men’s soccer tournament advanced Akron to a quarterfinal berth with postseason nemesis Stanford, which has bounced the Zips from the postseason in two of the past three campaigns.
Both of those defeats came in the College Cup, including a 2-0 defeat last season. This year, a pair of Suburbanite-area athletes are on the roster for an Akron team hoping to finally overcome the Cardinal and help the Zips capture their second national championship in program history.
Freshman midfielder Colin Biros (Jackson) and freshman defender Nick McCausland (Green) are part of a team that stands at 13-6-2 so far this season.
Ironically, the program’s 2010 national title came when the College Cup was held in Santa Barbara, Calif., which is also the site for the Cup this season.
Getting this far seemed both a near-lock and a near-impossibility at various points this season, as multiple wins against top-15 teams were paired with losses to or ties with Mid-American Conference foes the Zips were expected to defeat.
After 14 games, the Zips were 6-6-2 and unranked in most every poll imaginable. Since then, they’ve won seven in a row, including three straight to capture the MAC tournament title and earn an automatic bid for the NCAA tournament.
Biros, who started early in the year and has returned to the lineup as a starter late in the season, has tallied two goals and three assists and has started 14 of Akron’s 21 contests. McCausland saw action in an exhibition win over Denver.
The game against Stanford kicks off at 9 p.m. Friday in Palo Alto and should the Zips advance, the College Cup will take place Dec. 7 and 9.