Penalty kick helps Zips defeat Buffalo, 2-1

Stuart Holthusen moves the ball for the Zips

Stuart Holthusen moves the ball for the Zips

Victor Souto nailed a penalty kick with less than seven minutes remaining in the match to lift The University of Akron men’s soccer team to a 2-1 victory over the Bulls of Buffalo on Friday evening.

The game-winning score for Souto was the first of his Akron (9-2-1, 1-0 MAC) career. For the game, the Zips outshot Buffalo (9-2-1, 1-0 MAC) 26-6, including 9-2 on goal. The 26 shots is a season-high for Akron.

Sam Gainford, Adam Najem, and Brad Ruhaak each registered a game-high four shots each, while Sean Sepe contributed three shots in reserve duty.

“We got goals from unlikely players in Brad [Ruhaak] and Victor [Souto]. We are a tired team and to come here and win at the end of four games in nine days is a tremendous accomplishment and speaks to the character and heart this team has. Now we have seven days to rest and refocus for a good Northern Illinois team,” Akron Head Coach Jared Embick said.

The Bulls struck early as Russell Cicerone was good on a penalty kick for his ninth goal of the year, just 2:34 into the game. It was Buffalo’s only shot on goal in the first half.

Akron had chances to knot the score but couldn’t. Their best chance came in the 35th minute when the Bulls were called for a foul in their box. Gainford took the penalty kick, but he was denied his sixth goal of the year.

Ruhaak finally found the back of the net after a corner kick from Gainford in the 44th minute to tie the score at one.

Redemption came to the Zips in the 83rd minute when the Bulls were called for another infraction in the box to allow Akron’s second penalty kick of the evening. Souto took sight and found the back of the net with what proved to be the game-winning tally.

Akron had to defend two shot attempts down the stretch by Buffalo to secure the victory.

The Zips get some well-deserved rest and will return to the pitch Oct. 17 as Akron hosts Northern Illinois at 7 p.m. at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field.