AKRON, Ohio - A pair of first-half goals lifted the seventh-ranked University of Akron men's soccer team to a 2-0 triumph past Bowling Green (2-3-0, 0-1-0 MAC) in the Mid-American Conference opener for both schools on Sunday, March 7, at FirstEnergy Stadium.
"To start conference play with a win is important," Akron head coach Jared Embick commented. "The first half wasn't as clean as we would've like, but we were able to find two goals and that is what it is about, just trying to put chances away and grow from there. They were organized and made it difficult for us to find rhythm and when that happens, we still have to find goals to win. The second half, we had to deal with 10 men, and I thought our guys stuck together and played well."
The Zips (2-0-1, 1-0-0 MAC) opened defense of its 2019 MAC regular season title avenging a 1-0 setback suffered against the Falcons in the semifinals of the 2019 MAC Tournament, on the strength of the first collegiate goals from junior Federico Serra (Cagliari, Italy) and sophomore Tonny Temple (Millville, Pa.).
Akron finished the contest registering a 12-8 edge in shots, including a 6-0 margin in the opening half, while outshooting Bowling Green on goal, 5-3.
Sophomore Will Jackson (Hudson, Ohio) led the Zips with a team-high three shots, while Serra added two strikes of his own. Seven other Akron players garnered one shot apiece in the tilt. The Falcons received four and three shots, respectively, from Jacob Erlandson and Kale Nichols.
Senior GK Will Meyer (Solon, Ohio) recorded his first clean sheet as a member of the Akron men's soccer program pulling in three saves en route to earning the shutout. Logan Kowalczyk posted a trio of stops for Bowling Green.
Serra had his initial shot of the game ping off the post in the 24th minute (23:41) before successfully converting on a penalty kick to give the Zips a 1-0 lead at the 27:59 mark after the Falcons were whistled for a handball in the box. The goal was the first of Serra's collegiate career.
Temple extended Akron's edge to 2-0 in the 45th minute (44:30) as his header from eight yards out off a pass from the corner of the box by freshman Nick Scott (Fairview, Pa.) found the back of the net. The tally and assist were the first of the collegiate careers for Temple and Scott, respectively. Senior Daniel Strachan (Lakewood, Ohio) also garnered an assist on the tally for his pass from the midfield to Scott.
Senior Diogo Pacheco (Lisbon, Portugal) added a shot on goal at the 52:59 mark for the Zips that was pulled in for a save by Kowalczyk.
Akron was forced to play the majority of the second half a man down after the Zips were assessed a red card in the 54th minute (53:38).
Jackson delivered a shot on net at the 56:47 mark that was again denied by a save from Kowalczyk.
Meyer thwarted shot attempts by Bowling Green with saves in the 75th (74:38), 82nd (81:06) and 90th (89:17) minutes, respectively, to preserve the shutout.
Akron is scheduled to open the road portion of its league slate with a 1 p.m. ET contest at Northern Illinois on Sunday, March 14.