“The Zips started off the season on the right track as they beat the SMU Mustangs by a score of 1-0. Blair Gavin was credited the goal off of a penalty kick in the 55th minute of the game. The goal was Gavin’s first career penalty kick as a Zip. Sophomore Forward Darlington Nagbe controlled the pace of the game in the first half as he contributed three shots, which led the team.””
The Zips started off the season on the right track as they beat the SMU Mustangs by a score of 1-0.
Blair Gavin was credited the goal off of a penalty kick in the 55th minute of the game.
The goal was Gavin’s first career penalty kick as a Zip.
Sophomore Forward Darlington Nagbe controlled the pace of the game in the first half as he contributed three shots, which led the team.
Nagbe had one close call as the ball was deflected off of the post. Another shot was saved by Mustang keeper Craig Hill.
Akron had one more ball deflect off of the post in the first half, but failed to score.
I thought we played really well in the first half controlled the play, UA head coach Caleb Porter said. We came out with great energy and probably should have put a couple of goals away early, which would have opened the game up more. But in the end, we are pleased to get the result against a very good SMU team.
The Zips defense really proved themselves in the game by shutting out the Mustangs as well as holding them to only four shots.
Freshman defenders Zarek Valentin and Chad Barson made their college debuts in the regular season alongside sophomore Kofi Sarkodie and junior Chris Korb.
I thought the play from our four backs was exceptional, Porter said. I was very pleased with the way we defended as a team and individually against a talented attacking team like SMU.
Akron also held a 3-2 advantage in corner kicks for the game.
With the 1-0 win, freshman goalkeeper David Meves earned his first college shutout. Meves also recorded two saves during the game.
The Zips finished the weekend with another 1-0 win over the Tulsa Hurricanes who are ranked 14th in the nation.
The win started the Zips off on the right track at (2-0-0) for the season.
In the 10th minute of the game, junior midfielder Anthony Ampaipitakwong received his first goal of the season on an assist by Teal Bunbury.
Our attacking group – in particular Darlington, Ampai and Teal – were extremely difficult to deal with all evening, Porter said. If they keep playing like they did tonight, they are going score plenty of goals.
Freshman midfielder Ben Speas made his college debut and had a direct impact. He had three shots, which led the team of the night.
Akron held an advantage on shots against Tulsa on the night, at 11-6, and shots on goal, at 6-2.
We proved tonight how dominant we can be when we are pressing defensively and finding rhythm in possession, Porter said. We still need to do better in the final third and making the most of our opportunities. But we are creating very good chances and, in the end, having to ride out 1-0 wins in both games will probably help us more in the long run.
Defending was the name of the game in the win along with the goalkeeping of David Meves.
It feels good. It’s a good experience to start off with two clean sheets. Hopefully I can continue to do it throughout my college career, Meves said.
The starting defensive core was made up of Kofi Sarkodie, Zarek Valentin, Chris Korb and Chad Barson.
Most of it is their success, Meves said. The opportunities for other teams to score is minimal.
Akron made a name for itself last year on the defensive side of the ball with goalkeeper Evan Bush who posted low goals allowed per game constantly.
There is a little pressure, Meves said. Evan really helped the program the last couple years but I know I can do the same.
The Zips will travel to Cincinnati for the Adidas Bearcats Classic over the weekend. They will play High Point on Sept. 11 at 5 p.m. and Cincinnati on Spet. 13 at 3:30 p.m.