AKRON, Ohio - The University of Akron men's soccer team played arguably its finest match of the season, but the Zips (1-7-1) were unable to score a golden goal and settled for a 1-1 double-overtime draw with No. 10 Florida International (7-0-3) on Saturday, Oct. 5, at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Akron registered a season-best 22 shots, including posting a 7-2 edge in shots on goal, while limiting the Panthers, the NCAA's third-best offense, to 10 shots.
Freshman Will Jackson (Hudson, Ohio) garnered a career-high six shots for the Zips, including three on goal, while freshman Mani Austmann (Gardabaer, Iceland) added a career-best five shots of this own to spark the offensive efforts for Akron. Alessandro Campoy directed FIU with a team-high five shots.
Redshirt junior Tor Saunders (Seattle, Wash.) nearly collected his fourth career shutout in the match before finishing the contest with one save. Daniel Gagliardi concluded the evening with five stops for the Panthers.
Only a sliding save by Gagliardi at the 8:29 mark prevented Jackson from scoring his first career goal to give the Zips an early 1-0 lead. Jackson's redirection of the deflection was blocked, before a strike from sophomore Sam Tojaga (Erie, Pa.) went high.
Gagliardi denied a shot by Jackson with a save in the 11th minute (10:39).
Junior David Egbo (Enugu, Nigeria) came within inches of scoring a goal for the Zips at the 37:59 mark as his free kick from just outside the right side of the box hit the crossbar.
The continued offensive pressure for Akron paid off at the 42:33 mark when Egbo was taken down in the box by Gagliardi after a strong pass in stride from freshman Jaden Wright (Lorain, Ohio). Egbo stepped to the line and successfully converted the penalty kick to send the Zips into the intermission with a 1-0 lead.
Akron posted a 10-2 margin in shots in the opening 45 minutes of play.
Egbo began the second half unleashing a laser of shot in the box in the 48th minute (47:34), a shot that was thwarted by a save from Gagliardi.
Continuing the offense attack, Jackson got behind Gagliardi in the box at the 56:20 and delivered a strike that only a deflection for a team save by a diving Nick O'Callaghan prevented the Zips from extending their advantage to 2-0.
Just over a minute later in the 58th minute (57:38), Austmann struck a shot that Gagliardi denied once again for a save.
FIU registered its first shot on goal in the contest at the 67:41 mark, a shot from Campoy that was rejected by a Saunders' diving save.
The Zips were forced to adjust their line-up late in the game and the Panthers capitalized swinging the momentum of the match slightly in their favor registering a 5-3 edge over the final 20 minutes of regulation.
FIU netted the equalizer at the 86:30 mark when Andrew Booth headed home his fourth goal of the season. The play was set up by a corner kick delivered from Alban Rousselet into the box where Owen Green headed the ball from the near post to Booth on the far post for the goal.
Sophomore Carlo Ritaccio (Westbury, N.Y.) got off Akron's last shot of the second half in the 88th minute (87:44), a strike that was pulled in for a save by Gagliardi.
The Panthers appeared to garner the golden goal off the foot of Booth at the 93:25 mark only to see the tally disallowed after FIU was whistled for an offsides call.
Sophomore Colin Biros (Jackson, Ohio), Jackson and Austmann each recorded shots for the Zips in the first overtime, unfortunately for Akron, none of the strikes fell on frame.
Both shots in the second overtime were blocked as the matched ended in a draw.
Up next for Akron, the Zips travel to Indianapolis, Ind., for a 7 p.m. tilt on Tuesday, Oct. 8, at Butler.