OMAHA, Neb. - The University of Akron men's soccer team was unable to overcome an early first-half deficit as Creighton (1-1-1) dealt the Zips (0-3) a 2-1 setback on Friday, Sept. 6.
Akron on the strength of an 8-5 second-half advantage in shots and an 11-5 overall edge in corner kicks had scoring opportunities to square the contest at two, but the Bluejays' defense led by goalkeeper Paul Kruse kept the Zips off the scoreboard.
The Zips finished the evening posting a 15-13 edge in shots, despite Creighton earning an 8-5 margin in shots on goal.
Redshirt junior Diogo Pacheco's (Lisbon, Portugal) directed Akron's attack with a game-high five shots, including a pair on goal, while junior David Egbo (Enugu, Nigeria) and senior Christian Lue Young (Plantation, Fla.) added three and two shots, respectively. Ziyad Fares led the Bluejays with a match-best five shots.
Redshirt junior goalkeeper Tor Saunders (Seattle, Wash.) recorded a career- and season-high six saves for the Zips, while Kruse registered four stops for Creighton.
Senior Skye Harter (Copley, Ohio) had the first shot of the evening for Akron, a strike from outside the box at the 8:21 mark that went high, before a shot from Pacheco also was off the mark in the 10th minute (9:52).
Four corners in succession in the 13th and 14th minutes nearly resulted in a goal, as the Zips had shots deflected on each attempt before the Bluejays finally cleared the ball. Sophomore Carlo Ritaccio (Westbury, N.Y.) had the best attempt with a strike inside the six-yard box at the 12:41 mark that was pulled in for a save by Kruse.
A strong diving save by Saunders at the 22:47 mark denied a Creighton scoring chance by Luke Haakenson
A missed clearance in the box off a cross from the corner by Creighton nearly resulted in an own goal if not for Saunders pushing the ball out of danger in the 29th minute.
Saunders made another great save off a shot by Haakenson in the 33rd minute (32:33), before Fares knocked in the deflection to give Creighton a 1-0 lead at the 32:39 mark.
Dominic Briggs got around the Akron defender on a ball in the box in the 37th minute (36:31) and bested a diving Saunders with a shot to extend the Bluejays' advantage to 2-0.
Akron responded at the 39:06 mark when sophomore Federico Serra (Cagliari, Italy) played a ball into the box from the endline that Lue Young blasted through a line of defenders into the back of the net for his first career goal as a Zip to cut the deficit to 2-1.
Akron had another strong scoring chance in the 44th minute as Harter played a ball through to Serra, who in turn dished off to freshman Will Jackson (Hudson, Ohio), who got off a shot at the 12:41 mark wide of frame at the 43:44 mark.
Akron had one final scoring chance with four seconds remaining as sophomore Colin Biros (Jackson, Ohio) delivered a ball into the box off a corner that Serra pushed wide.
The two sides each registered seven first-half shots, with the Bluejays owning a 5-2 margin in shots on goal.
Pacheco had his strike in the 49th minute (48:53) denied by a save from Kruse.
Egbo nearly chipped a ball from the corner of the box over the head of Kruse and into the top of the net at the 49:43 mark. Unfortunately for the Zips, the ball went just high of the crossbar.
Saunders made consecutive stops of shots from Fares at the 52:02 and 53:41 marks, respectively.
Egbo's header off a corner by Harter in the 57th minute (56:19) was blocked out of danger by Musa Qongo. Egbo then narrowly missed connecting inside the six-yard box at the 58:00 mark.
Pacheco's header off a corner from Harter in the 62nd minute (61:35) was denied by a save, before his strike at the 76:43 mark narrowly missed finding the corner of the net as it squarely hit the post before bounding out.
Freshman Henrique Cruz (Fortaleza, Brazil) culminated the Zips' scoring opportunities in the 83rd minute (82:12) as he struck a ball that was denied by a save from Kruse.
In a rematch of the 2018 College Cup finale, the Zips return to action with an 6:30 p.m. match at Maryland on Friday, Sept. 13, in College Park, Md. The contest will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.