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Badgers face preseason test against No. 3 Akron



The Wisconsin men's soccer team looks to follow up its 1-0 win over UW-Parkside in its first exhibition game a strong performance against one of the nation's best teams when the Badgers battle No. 3 Akron in an exhibiition contest as part of the National Soccer Festival in Fort Wayne, Ind., on Saturday.

The event features nine NCAA Division I men's games over the course of three days beginning Aug. 27. The field of competitors includes five Big Ten Conference schools and a total of eight teams that qualified for the 2008 NCAA Tournament.

Exhibition Game 2 | No. 3 Akron (0-0) vs. Wisconsin (0-0)
Date: Saturday, Aug. 29
Time: 6 p.m.
Location: Fort Wayne, Ind.
Site: Hefner Soccer Complex
Admission: $7 adults, $5 youth
Online: National Soccer Festival site
All-Time Series: Wisconsin leads, 2-1-0

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The Week Ahead
The Badgers' second and final exhibition game of the 2009 preseason offers a stiff challenge in Akron, which is ranked No. 3 in the NSCAA preseason rankings, No. 2 in the first Soccer America poll and No. 1 by Top Drawer Soccer. Upon returning home, UW's focus turns to the four days of training that remain in advance of the Badgers' season-opener against Virginia Tech on Sept. 4.

Online Coverage Expands
Fans unable to attend the Badgers matches in person can stay close to the action at home thanks to a pair of additions to online coverage of home games at UWBadgers.com. Live stats will continue to be offered for every home game in 2009, but fans can now enjoy a more in-depth presentation of the events on the field through GameTracker from CBS College Sports.

In addition, soccer fans can now follow along with the live, interactive in-game blogs that have become popular for a number of Badgers sports on UWBadgers.com.

Become an Insider
Sign up now to receive the Badger Mens Soccer Insider, a service of BuckyMail, and stay current with the latest news and features on the UW mens soccer team. Subscribers will receive a weekly e-mail with news and links to all things Badger soccer, directly to their inbox. You can sign up for BuckyMail and the Badger Mens Soccer Insider by clicking @badgermail"> --> here .

Looking Back: sportid=122&storyid=18759"> --> Wisconsin 1, UW-Parkside 0 (OT) - Aug. 24
A perfect serve from junior Jon Rzepka was rebounded by freshman Ata Ozbay to the feet of junior Bryan Gerster, who delivered the game-winner for the Badgers in the 96th minute of a 1-0 victory over UW-Parkside Monday at the McClimon Complex. The Badgers managed to put four shots on goal, including two by senior Scott Lorenz, and finished with 14 shots in total. Senior Alex Horwath started in goal and had five saves for the Badgers.

Previewing the Opponent: Akron
The Zips enter the 2009 season with high expectations after posting a 17-2-4 overall record last year on their way to the third round of the NCAA tournament. Akron returns seven of its starters from a season ago, including All-American Anthony Ampaipitakwong and a pair who earned Freshman All-America honors.

The Zips, however, must replace first-team All-American and Hermann Trophy runner-up Steve Zakuani, who led the nation with 20 goals last season and earned player of the year honors from Soccer America and Top Drawer Soccer. Zakuani went No. 1 overall in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft as the first-ever pick by the expansion Seattle Sounders FC.

Akron, which earned a first-round bye by virtue of its 16-1-4 record heading into the event, faced a pair of Big Ten Conference teams in the 2008 NCAA Tournament. The Zips downed Ohio State in double-overtime to advance to the Sweet 16, where they fell, 1-0, to Northwestern for just their second loss of the season.

The Zips also went undefeated in Mid-American Conference play for the second-consecutive season to win the league, and then went on to claim their fourth MAC tournament title in five years.

Head coach Caleb Porter enters his fourth season at the helm of the Akron program, which he has led to a 45-11-7 record over the last three years. Porter, a 1998 Indiana University graduate, was a freshman on the Hoosiers' 1994 College Cup team that was led by then-senior captain and current UW head coach Todd Yeagley.

About the Series
Wisconsin holds a 2-1-0 advantage in the teams' all-time series, though the clubs haven't met in the regular season since 1991. The teams have never met at a neutral site, as they split their two meetings in Akron (1986, 1989) and the Badgers claimed a 1-0 win in their only contest in Madison (1991).

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