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Akron earns 1-1 draw at Western Michigan

Published: October 24, 2015

KALAMAZOO, Mich. - The No. 5 Akron men's soccer team withstood a furious late charge from Western Michigan (8-3-3, 1-1-1 MAC) to collect a 1-1 double-overtime draw and a key point in the Mid-American Conference regular season race on Saturday, Oct. 24.

The Zips (11-2-2, 2-0-1 MAC) were outshot in overtime, 6-0, but were able to extend their unbeaten streak to eight straight games on the strength of a season-high nine saves from senior goalkeeper Jake Fenlason (San Diego, Calif.), including one stop in the waning minutes of the second overtime period.

The Broncos posted a 20-7 advantage in shots in the affair, including a 10-4 margin on goal.

Junior Adam Najem (Clifton, N.J.) and senior Sean Sepe (West Islip, N.Y.) led Akron's offensive efforts with a team-high two shots apiece. Carlos Suarez and Sean Conerty directed the Western Michigan attack with six and five shots, respectively.

Drew Shepherd recorded two saves in goal for the Broncos.

Najem gave the Zips an early 1-0 lead at the 22:01 mark serving a ball over Shepherd for his seventh goal of the season.

The lead was short lived as Conerty served a free kick into the box that found the back of the net in the 28th minute (27:40).

Akron was outshot in the initial 45 minutes, 9-1, including 6-1 on goal, but the Zips entered the intermission locked in a 1-1 tie with the Broncos.

Redshirt junior Brad Ruhaak (Akron, Ohio) got off the Zips' first shot of the second half at the 50:57 mark, but had his attempt off a corner kick from redshirt sophomore Sam Gainford (Liverpool, England) blocked.

Sepe added another shot for Akron in the 57th minute (56:07) off a Gainford corner kick, but the strike went wide.

A team save in front of the goal by the Broncos prevented Najem from netting his second goal of the afternoon at the 76:26 mark.

Sophomore Nate Shultz (Mayfield, Ohio) nearly gave the Zips the go-ahead goal eight seconds later at the 76:34 mark delivering a strike on goal that Shepherd was able corral for the save.

The Zips countered again with sophomore Richie Laryea's (Toronto, Ontario (Canada)) placing a shot on goal in the 80th minute (79:05) that was thwarted by a Shepherd save.

Fenlason pulled in his sixth save of the afternoon at the 80:55 mark off a shot from Brandon Bye before stopping Suarez's strike in the 82nd minute (81:50) for his seventh stop.

A diving save by Fenlason off a Conerty' strike at the 86:57 mark kept the contest square at one apiece. Fenlason posted all three of his second-half saves over the final 10 minutes of regulation.

Fenlason made his ninth and final stop in the 110th minute (109:46) denying a game-winning goal from Suarez.

The Zips return to action traveling to West Virginia for a key conference tilt on Wednesday, Oct. 28. Game time is set for 7 p.m. Akron then hosts UCLA in a 1 p.m. contest on Nov. 1 at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field.

 
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