RICHMOND, Va. - A golden goal by sophomore Anthony Macchione (Camas, Wash.) in the 108th minute (107:09) lifted the 24th-ranked University of Akron men's soccer team to a 3-2 season-opening victory past VCU (0-1) on Friday, Aug. 28.
The game-winning tally was set up by junior Adam Najem (Clifton, N.J.), who served a ball into the box which Macchione struck with his head and sent past Rams' goalkeeper Garrett Cyprus.
"I'm happy with the result on the road as VCU is a tough place to play," Akron head coach Jared Embick commented. "Overall we played well, but we can improve. We didn't manage the game well with leads, but we stuck with it. I feel a weaker team would have gave in, but we showed strength and found a way to win the game."
The Zips (1-0) registered a 5-1 advantage in shots in overtime, including 2-1 on goal, en route to outshooting VCU on the night, 14-10. Each team posted six shots on goal.
Sophomore Stuart Holthusen (Auckland, New Zealand) and senior Sean Sepe (West Islip, N.Y.) sparked Akron each recording a match-high three shots, while redshirt sophomore Sam Gainford (Liverpool, England) and redshirt junior Brad Ruhaak (Akron, Ohio) notched two shots apiece. Jack Bates led the Rams posting three shots.
Senior Jake Fenlason (San Diego, Calif.) collected four saves for Akron, with all four stops coming in the second half and overtime. Cyprus ended with evening with a trio of saves for VCU.
The Zips registered their first and only shots of the initial stanza over a stretch of just over three minutes (3:01) within the game's first eight minutes.
Holthusen had his strike at the 4:44 mark blocked before Sepe's shot sailed high in the eighth minute (7:45).
The Rams recorded a pair of shots in 36th and 37th minutes, respectively, but both failed to fall on frame to keep the match scoreless.
Each side posted a pair of shots in the first 45 minutes with each team forcing a corner kick.
Holthusen registered the first shot on goal in the affair at the 51:45 mark, but his scoring attempt was thwarted by a save from Cyprus.
Just over three minutes later in the 55th minute (54:48), Holthusen connected on a strike from outside the box that found the back of the net to give Akron a 1-0 advantage.
The lead was short lived as Jason McGlothern netted the equalizer for the Rams at the 63:01 mark.
Najem delivered a corner kick in the 72nd minute (71:34) which was delivered into the box where sophomore Nate Shultz' (Mayfield, Ohio) shot went high.
Sepe attempted to give Akron the lead back sending a shot on goal at the 74:08 mark that was saved by Cyprus.
Gainford collected his second goal of the evening in the 78th minute (77:12) connecting on a bicycle kick for the go-ahead tally. He scored off an assist from Sepe.
Dennis Castillo forced overtime scoring at the 87:41 mark for the Rams to knot the score at two.
Shots were even over the final 45 minutes of regulation at seven apiece with VCU bettering the Zips in shots on goal, 5-4.
Akron recorded the first two shots of the initial overtime period as Holthusen's shot went wide and Ruhaak had his attempt blocked.
Fenlason pulled in Cody Sweatte's shot on goal in the 95th minute (95:00) before Ruhaak delivered a shot on frame for the Zips at the 96:06 mark that was saved by Cyprus.
Redshirt freshman Ezana Kahsay's (Asmeras, Eritrea) shot for Akron in the 102nd minute (101:18) went wide.
The Zips return to action with a 7 p.m. tilt at No. Old Dominion on Sunday, Aug. 30.