MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The first career hat trick from senior Stuart Holthusen (Auckland, New Zealand) propelled the ninth-ranked University of Akron men's soccer team to a 4-0 victory over No. 25 West Virginia (8-5-4, 0-2-2 MAC) in Mid-American Conference action on Friday, Oct. 27.
The Zips (12-3-1, 3-1-0 MAC) registered a 9-4 advantage in shots on the evening, including a 5-1 margin in shots on goal.
Holthusen and fellow senior Manuel Cordeiro (Porto, Portugal) directed the offensive efforts for Akron collecting a game-high three shots apiece. Three different Mountaineers garnered a shot in the contest.
Junior goalkeeper Ben Lundt (Berlin, Germany) made one save for the Zips en route to posting his second consecutive clean sheet and sixth overall shutout of the season. Steven Tekesky made one stop of his own in net for West Virginia.
The Zips controlled the pace of the contest early, but shots proved hard to come by for either side, as Cordeiro's blocked shot at the 16:48 mark presented the initial shot of the evening.
Jorge Quintanilla posted the first shot on goal in the contest taking a free kick for West Virginia in the 20th minute (19:02), one that was pulled in for a save by Lundt.
Cordeiro had another attempt for the Zips that was blocked at the 27:17 mark.
Akron continued to attack the Mountaineer's defensive third placing several crosses in the center of the box, but the Zips were unable to get a foot on the chances for scoring attempts.
Akron finally broke through in the 37th minute (37:29) when Holthusen connected on his third goal of the season to provide the Zips a 1-0 advantage. Playing the ball up the middle on the play was freshman Joao Moutinho (Lisbon, Portugal), who tapped a pass to senior Pau Belana (Barcelona, Catalonia) just outside the box, who in turn slid in the final pass to Holthusen for the tally.
Akron finished the initial stanza with a 3-1 edge in shots, while each team registered one shot on goal.
Andres Albert-Liop delivered a free kick for West Virginia in the 52nd minute (51:56) that went just wide of the net.
Redshirt junior Ezana Kahsay (Asmeras, Eritrea) had a strong scoring opportunity at the 52:22 mark as his shot from 12 yards out went high after a pair of skilled passes into the box from Holthusen and senior Niko De Vera (Camas, Wash.).
Kahsay followed striking a through ball into the box to Holthusen, who was taken down in the box for a penalty-kick opportunity in the 56th minute (55:19). Stepping to the line and connecting on his second goal of the game was Holthusen. The tally was his fourth of the season and the brace represented the sixth multi-goal game of Holthusen's career.
Holthusen pushed the Zips' lead to 3-0 at the 65:48 mark with his third goal of the night and fifth on the campaign off an assist from junior Morgan Hackworth (Bradenton, Fla.).
Cordeiro capped the scoring for Akron in the 70th minute (69:42) with his first goal of the year courtesy of an assist from Hackworth.
The Zips return to action on Wednesday, Nov. 1, as Akron welcomes Marshall to FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field for a 7 p.m. tilt.