BOWLING GREEN, Ohio - The University of Akron men's soccer team entered its showdown with league-leading Bowling Green (9-5-3, 2-0-2 MAC) on Saturday, Oct. 29, with an opportunity to move a step closer towards potentially clinching home-field advantage in the upcoming Mid-American Conference Championship, unfortunately for the Zips (8-5-3, 2-1-1 MAC) they were unable to capitalize as they battled the Falcons to a 2-2 double-overtime draw.
"We fell short today," Akron head coach Jared Embick commented. "Give BGSU credit they fought and battled us all game. They took advantage of their chances. We were able to find a couple of goals to tie the game, but could not find the breakthrough to get us the lead and victory. We lacked creativity and quality in the final third. We have to win next weekend on Senior Night and see if we can get some help."
Four teams are separated by two points in the league standings heading into the final week of the regular season. Bowling Green, Akron, Buffalo and Western Michigan will enter the week with eight, seven, seven and six points, respectively. The Zips will host the Broncos next Saturday, Nov. 5, while the Bulls will visit the Falcons on the same evening.
The Zips registered a decided advantage in shots in the affair besting Bowling Green, 22-11, including 8-5 on frame. Senior Adam Najem (Clifton, N.J.) posted a game-high five shots for Akron, while redshirt junior Sam Gainford (Liverpool, England) and freshmen Marcel Zajac (Mississauga, Ontario), Nick Hinds (Plantation, Fla.) and Jonathan Lewis (Plantation, Fla.) added four, four, three and three shots, respectively.
Joe Sullivan paced the Falcons' attack with a team-high three shots.
Sophomore goalkeeper Ben Lundt (Berlin, Germany) made three saves for the Zips, while Anthony Mwembia pulled in five stops for Bowling Green.
Tate Robertson provided the Falcons an early 1-0 lead netting his first goal of the season at the 6:43 mark.
Zajac evened the affair at one in the 19th minute (18:16) connecting on his second goal of the year off an assist from Gainford.
Pat Flynn regained the lead for Bowling Green scoring his fifth goal of the year just over two minutes later at the 20:32 mark. Chris Brennan and Robertson assisted on the tally.
The Falcons were then whistled for a foul in the box in the 25th minute (24:05) resulting in a penalty kick for the Zips. Stepping to the line and delivering his third goal on the campaign was Gainford.
Hinds followed with a shot on goal at the 31:06 mark which was stopped for a save by Mwembia.
Hinds and Gainford posted strikes on frame in the 51st (50:31) and 69th minutes (68:13), respectively, but were thwarted by stops from Mwembia.
A header shot from junior Niko De Vera (Camas, Wash.) at the 76:02 mark nearly gave the Zips a 3-2 lead if not for a team save from the Falcons.
Mwembia recorded a save on a shot by Zajac in the final minute (89:17) of regulation to sent the contest into overtime.
Lundt came up with a save of his own denying the only shot on goal in overtime for either team off the head of Moe Mustafa.
Akron returns to action on Wednesday, Nov. 2, as the Zips welcome Grand Canyon to FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field. Game time is set for 4 p.m.