AKRON, Ohio - A golden goal in the 99th minute (98:05) from freshman Jason Shokalook (Erie, Pa.) propelled the seventh-ranked University of Akron men's soccer team to dramatic 2-1 overtime victory past No. 9 Marshall (3-1-1) in the Zips' home opener on Tuesday, March 2 at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Shokalook headed home his first collegiate goal from 12 yards out to off a stellar serve into the box from junior Federico Serra (Cagliari, Italy), who earned the assist on the tally.
"It was a hard-fought game, and we broke through," Akron head coach Jared Embick commented. "We were not great in the first half and then when the red card came it changed how the game was going to be played. It was then about whether or not we were going to break down numbers and stay focused on the counter, and sometimes it takes a while, they have a good team, they battled, and we just had to find a way and we did, it is a good feeling for everyone and great win at the end of the day. We were getting frustrated and you could see that at times, and I think that it was important to find some quality and keep sticking with it and just find a play to win a game, that will move this team forward."
The Zips (1-0-1) outshot the Thundering Herd on the afternoon, 12-4, including a 4-2 edge in shots on goal. Senior Diogo Pacheco (Lisbon, Portugal), who scored Akron's first goal at the 13:35 mark off an assist from junior Colin Biros (Jackson, Ohio), directed the Zips' offensive attack with a game-high three shots, including two on frame. Freshman Ryan Combe (York, Maine) also recorded three shots, while Shokalook finished the contests with two shots. Vitor Dias, who netted Marshall's lone goal in the affair in the 20th minute (19:01), led the Thundering Herd with a team-high two shots.
Senior Will Meyer (Solon, Ohio) recorded one save for the Zips in net, while his counterpart, Oliver Semmle, made two stops for Marshall.
Pacheco got the scoring started for the Zips connecting on his second goal of the season at the 13:35 mark of the first half off a ball served in from the corner by Biros.
Shokalook followed with a shot on goal in the 18th minute (17:54) that was pulled in for a save by Semmle.
The Thundering Herd netted the equalizer at the 19:01 mark as Dias scored off an assist from Milo Yosef.
The Zips registered a 3-2 edge in first half shots.
Pacheco nearly gave Akron the lead in the 65th minute (64:19) as only a diving save from Semmle prevented the acrobatic strike from finding the back of the net.
Meyer notched the save on a shot by Vinicus Fernandes at the 81:52 mark.
The game-winner was set up by trademark Akron passing in the midfield as Biros passed a ball to Serra, who delivered a strike to a diving Shokalook for the golden goal.
Akron is scheduled to open its Mid-American Conference campaign welcoming Bowling Green to FirstEnergy Stadium for a 1 p.m. contest on Sunday, March 7.