SYRACUSE, N.Y. – A staunch defensive effort and a 35th-minute goal from redshirt junior Ezana Kahsay (Asmeras, Eritrea) proved to be the winning formula for the Akron men's soccer team as the eighth-rated Zips (6-2-1) extended their unbeaten streak to seven with a 1-0 victory at Syracuse (5-5-2) on Tuesday, Oct. 3.
Akron also pushed its winning streak to four straight on the strength of collecting the Zips' fourth shutout of the season.
Fueled by a 7-4 margin in second-half shots, Akron finished the contest outshooting the Orange, 10-9, including a 5-4 advantage in shots on goal.
Senior Manuel Cordeiro (Porto, Portugal) and freshman João Moutinho (Lisbon, Portugal) directed the Zips' offensive efforts recording two shots apiece. Syracuse was paced by a team-high three shots from Jonathan Hagman and Tajon Buchanan.
Junior goalkeeper Ben Lundt (Berlin, Germany) came up with four key saves for Akron en route to earning his fourth clean sheet on the campaign. Conversely, Hendrik Hilpert made four saves for the Orange.
Buchanan nearly gave Syracuse an early 1-0 advantage only 19 seconds in the game as his strike struck the left post.
Hugo Delhommelle followed with a shot on goal at the 8:41 mark which was pulled in for a save by Lundt.
Moutinho garnered the Zips' first shot of the evening in the 10th minute (9:58), one that was saved by Hilpert.
Kahsay gave Akron a 1-0 lead at the 34:18 mark delivering a ball into the corner of the net for his first goal of the season. Earning assists on the tally with a pair of pinpoint passes were juniors Morgan Hackworth (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and Joe Korb (Willowick, Ohio).
Pulling in Hagman's attempt on goal for a save in the 44th minute (43:15) was Lundt.
The Zips were outshot in the initial stanza, 5-3, including 2-2 on frame.
Syracuse opened the second half firing shots on net as Buchan and Jan Breitenmoser unleashed shots at the 48:57 and 50:14 marks, respectively, which were corralled for stops by Lundt.
Hackworth had a strong chance in the 64th minute (63:39) in the box, but his strike went just high.
Cordeiro and Korb recorded shots on goal at the 66:10 and 66:39 marks that was denied by saves from Hilpert.
Senior Nate Shultz (Mayfield, Ohio), the United Soccer Coaches National Player of the Week, nearly pushed Akron's lead to 2-0 in the 74th minute (73:23) as his shot inside the box went just high.
Syracuse narrowly missed on a pair of scoring opportunities at the 79:09 and 81:17 marks, respectively, as Buchanan's and Hagman's shots each hit the side of the net.
Senior Stuart Holthusen (Auckland, New Zealand) capped the scoring chances for the Zips in the 86th minute (85:49) as a Hilpert save thwarted his strike on frame.
Akron returns to action on Saturday, Oct. 7, as the Zips open Mid-American Conference play with a 1 p.m. tilt at No. 12 Western Michigan.