PHOENIX, Ariz. – A goal in the fifth minute (4:50) from sophomore David Egbo (Enugu, Nigeria) proved to be all the offense the University of Akron men's soccer team needed as the Zips (3-3-1) locked down defensively en route to earning a 1-0 victory at Grand Canyon (3-4-0) on Thursday, Sept. 20.
Egbo delivered what proved to be a game-winning strike from the top of the box into the corner of the net for his team-leading seventh goal of the season off an assist from senior Morgan Hackworth (Bradenton, Fla.) at the 4:50 mark.
"I was really pleased with the overall mentality and effort this evening," Akron head coach Jared Embick commented. "To win playing in this heat and to manage the game as we did and to not allow many chances, that takes toughness and a collective effort. We are starting to find our identity and our mentality is growing, we just need to keep pushing ourselves."
The Zips finished the evening registering an 8-3 advantage in shots, including a 3-0 margin on goal. Senior Abdi Mohamed (Westerville, Ohio) and junior Marcel Zajac (Mississauga, Ontario) paced Akron's offensive attack with a game-high two shots apiece, while three different Lopes recorded a shot for Grand Canyon.
Senior goalkeeper Ben Lundt (Berlin, Germany) earned his third clean sheet of the season and 23rd of his Zips' career without having to make a save to collect the victory. George Tasouris posted a pair of stops in net for the Lopes.
After Egbo's goal, senior Ezana Kahsay (Asmeras, Eritrea) nearly extended the Zips' lead to 2-0 at the 23:27 mark as his shot went wide of the net after Egbo played the ball over the Lopes' defender to Kahsay.
Akron finished the opening stanza outshooting Grand Canyon, 3-2, including 2-0 on net.
Mohamed got off a strong shot from outside the box for the Zips in the 53rd minute (52:31), one that narrowly missed finding the top of the net.
Zajac added a shot on goal at the 80:05 mark, one that was saved by Tasouris. Less than 30 seconds later at the 80:33 mark, Zajac unleashed another shot, one which hit the crossbar before being cleared by the Lopes' defense.
Egbo had his second goal of the evening waved off in the 81st minute (80:56) as the Zips were whistled for an offisides call.
Freshman Pol Hernandez (Teia, Spain) added the final shot of the evening as his shot in the box was blocked in the 87th minute (86:05).
The Zips return to action traveling to Richmond, Va., for a 7 p.m. showdown at VCU on Sept. 26.