Najem late game heroics gives Zips a victory

By Terry Rabbitts, Sports-editor@buchtelite.com

Adam Najem scored a golden goal in the 99th minute to lift No. 7 Akron (7-2-1) to a 2-1 win over University of Alabama at Birmingham (3-7-0) on Saturday in double overtime.

Redshirt sophomore Tyler Sanda was credited with the assist on Najem’s goal, which was the result of Akron’s third shot in the overtime session. Najem, a junior, scored his sixth goal of the year and leads the Zips in that category.

“We really had to grind this victory out. UAB played well and this is a tough team. We showed great determination to get the result. We are in the part of the schedule where we just have to find ways to win. The ability to grind out wins will continue to help our confidence grow,” Akron head Coach Jared Embick said.

The Zips held a 20-7 advantage in shots for the match, including 6-3 on goal, on the way to netting their third consecutive victory.

Sophomore Richie Laryea was the leader with six shots, while redshirt sophomore Robby Dambrot  (4), Najem (3), and redshirt sophomore Sam Gainford (2) off the bench helped Akron’s offense.

Laryea found the back of the net in scoring his fourth goal of the season in the 73rd minute to give the Zips a 1-0 lead.

The lead did not last long as UAB’s Freddie Ruiz scored a little over two minutes later to tie the score at 1.

Senior goalkeeper Jake Fenlason recorded his seventh victory of the year as he was credited with two saves for the Zips.

Akron returns to the pitch tonight, as the Zips host Santa Clara to FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field for a 7 p.m. start.