DEKALB, Ill. - Propelled by four first-half goals, the No. 18 University of Akron men's soccer team cruised to a 7-0 Mid-American Conference victory past Northern Illinois (1-7-4, 0-1-1 MAC) on Saturday, Oct. 15.
The Zips' offensive eruption marked the most goals in a game for Akron (7-4-1, 2-0-0 MAC) since registering a 7-1 decision past Michigan on Oct. 29, 2010. The seven-goal winning margin also represented the largest scoring difference for the Zips in a triumph since downing Wright State, 8-0, on Oct. 15, 2008.
"I was pleased with the effort tonight, " Akron head coach Jared Embick. "It was nice to see us finish some chances. It was a complete effort, now we need to focus on continuing this momentum with another quality performance on Tuesday at Penn State."
The Zips bettered the Huskies in the affair in shots, 18-7, including 9-3 on goal. Redshirt junior Sam Gainford (Liverpool, England) directed Akron's offensive attack with a game-high four shots, while redshirt junior Robby Dambrot (Akron, Ohio), junior Niko De Vera (Camas, Wash.), freshman Jonathan Lewis (Plantation, Fla.) and senior Adam Najem (Clifton, N.J.) added two shots apiece. Adam Lightner and Christian Molina collected two shots each for Northern Illinois.
Sophomore goalkeeper Ben Lundt (Berlin, Germany) and redshirt freshman keeper Nick Costa (North Royalton, Ohio), in his collegiate debut, combined to earn Akron's seventh shutout of the season. Lundt played the first 79 minutes in the tilt and made one save before yielding to Costa, who closed out the affair with one stop over the final 11 minutes. Drew Donnally pulled in two saves for the Huskies.
Gainford scored what proved to be the game-winning tally in the fourth minute (3:16) beating Donnally for his first goal of the season. Delivering the assist off a cross was redshirt freshman Skye Harter (Copley, Ohio).
Gainford again found the back of the net at the 27:12 mark, courtesy of an assist from junior Stuart Holthusen (Auckland, New Zealand), to extend the Zips' lead to 2-0. The tally enabled Gainford to record his third career multi-goal performance of his career and first since scoring twice in a 3-2 win past Saint Louis on Sept. 11, 2015.
Redshirt junior Manuel Cordeiro (Porto, Portugal) notched his initial collegiate score for the Zips in the 31st minute (30:26) to push Akron's advantage to 3-0. Cordeiro headed the ball in off assists from Dambrot and Gainford.
After many close scoring opportunities up this point in his career, Dambrot was rewarded for his tenacity capitalizing on his first career goal at the 42:42 mark to send the Zips into the intermission leading 4-0.
Akron outshot Northern Illinois in the initial 45 minutes, 10-3.
The tally enabled Akron to surpass its previous season-best scoring mark of four goals scored in a 4-0 triumph against Buffalo on Oct. 7.
A pair of first-ever collegiate goals from De Vera and freshman Reggie Laryea (Toronto, Ontario) at the 56:20 and 77:03 marks, respectively, capped the scoring for the Zips.
De Vera's tally was unassisted, while junior Nate Shultz (Mayfield, Ohio) and Harter earned assists on Laryea's goal.
Akron returns to action with a 7 p.m. tilt at Penn State on Tuesday, Oct. 18. The showdown with the Nittanyn Lions will be broadcast by the Big Ten Network.