EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – The University of Akron men's soccer team garnered a pivotal 1-0 Mid-American Conference road victory besting SIU Edwardsville (9-3-4, 1-2-1 MAC) on Saturday, Oct. 27, on the strength of sophomore David Egbo (Enugu, Nigeria) connecting on what proved to be the game-winning tally in the 64th minute (63:47).
Playing in their first true road game against the Cougars since Oct, 14, 1978, the Zips (7-6-2, 1-2-1 MAC) parlayed Egbo's heroics into their first-ever road triumph past SIU Edwardsville.
"Tonight was a great result for us," Akron head coach Jared Embick commented. "We stuck together as a team and fought until the end. We have to stay focused on ourselves and make sure we continue to work to improve this week as we have a big match next Saturday."
Junior Marcel Zajac (Mississauga, Ontario) earned the assist on Egbo's team-leading ninth goal of the season, posting his team-best sixth assist of the year.
The Cougars finished the evening outshooting the Zips, 22-14, while also edging Akron in shots on goal, 6-5.
Zajac directed the Zips with a team-high four shots, including three on goal, while senior Marco Micaletto (Reading, England) contributed three shots in reserve duty. Lachlan McLean led SIU Edwardsville with a game-best seven shots, while three other Cougars added three shots apiece.
Delivering a dominating performance in net for Akron was senior Ben Lundt (Berlin, Germany), who collected six saves, en route to posting his fifth shutout of the season and the 24th clean sheet of his Zips' career. Noah Heim wrapped up his evening making four stops in goal for the Cougars.
Zajac registered Akron's first shot of the evening, a shot that was saved by Heim in the fifth minute (4:56).
A shot from Jorge Gonzalez at the 11:21 mark nearly found the upper 90 for a SIU Edwardsville goal, but the attempt hit the crossbar and went out of play.
Lundt then made a diving save off a strike by Gonzalez in the 14th minute (13:30) to retain the scoreless contest.
Freshman Marco Milanese (Isernia, Italy) delivered a header that went wide for the Zips at the 19:30 mark.
Lundt came up with a diving save to deny a shot by McLean in the 30th minute (29:34), before catching another strike by McLean at the 33:50 mark.
Zajac unleashed a shot from the top of the box in the 38th minute (37:30), one that was pulled in for a save by Heim.
Micaletto garnered his third first-half shot right before halftime, a strike that was denied by a save from Heim.
The two teams entered the intermission locked in a scoreless contest. SIU Edwardsville posted a 10-8 margin in shots in the opening stanza, with each side collecting three shots on goal.
Zajac registered a shot from inside the six-yard box at the 56:06 mark, an attempt that was denied by a diving save from Heim.
Lundt came up with a strong save off a shot by Gonzalez in the 62nd minute (61:20), before the Zips got a fortuitous bounce on a shot by McLean that struck the post at the 62:09 mark.
Egbo gave Akron a 1-0 lead in the 64th minute (63:47) finding the back of the net on a ball slotted into the box by Zajac.
Greg Solawa's shot at the 74:12 mark for the Cougars was denied by diving save from Lundt.
Senior Morgan Hackworth (Bradenton, Fla.) had a great look on goal in the 84th minute (83:24), a shot that went just wide of frame.
TC Hull was denied by a save from Lundt at the 87:00 mark.
SIU Edwardsville posted three additional shots to close the evening, each failed to find the mark.
The win elevated Akron to four points in the league standings and positioned the Zips with a potential victory past Western Michigan at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field on Saturday, Nov. 3, to earn a top-two seed at the upcoming MAC Tournament to be hosted by West Virginia on Nov. 9-11. Akron needs a full three points against the Broncos coupled with a road victory or tie from SIU Edwardsville at Bowling Green to earn the bye.
Akron concludes MAC regular season play against the Broncos in a 7 p.m. tilt on Saturday, Nov. 3. The Zips will honor its senior class of Hackworth, Ezana Kahsay (Asmeras, Eritrea), Joe Korb (Willowick, Ohio), Lundt, Micaletto and Abdi Mohamed (Westerville, Ohio) in pre-game ceremonies.