AKRON, Ohio – A golden goal in the 104th minute (103:05) from freshman Faisal Ghaffur (Mississauga, Ontario) propelled the 24th-rated University of Akron men's soccer team to the 700th victory in program history with a 2-1 double-overtime triumph past Saint Mary's (3-4-1) on Saturday, Sept. 30, at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field.
Entering the contest as a second-half substitution at the 80:31 mark, Ghaffur collected not only the game-winning tally for the Zips (5-2-1) in double overtime, but also netted his first collegiate goal off an assist from sophomore Nick Hinds (Plantation, Fla.).
The victory extended Akron's unbeaten streak to six, including three consecutive wins.
The Gaels gave the Zips everything they had in the affair and continued to drive the attack in Akron's defensive third in overtime until Ghaffur's game-winner.
The Zips outshot Saint Mary's in overtime, 2-1, and for the game, 18-11. Akron also registered a 6-3 margin in shots on goal.
Freshman João Moutinho (Lisbon, Portugal) directed the Zips' offensive attack collecting a game-high five shots, including two on frame, while senior Stuart Holthusen (Auckland, New Zealand) added four shots. Posting two shots apiece for Akron was Hinds and redshirt junior Ezana Kahsay (Asmeras, Eritrea). Jake Rudel and Jakub Svehlik each tallied a team-high two shots for the Gaels.
The two sides opened up the game in a back-and-forth defensive showdown with the Zips recording the first two shots of the evening.
The Gaels nearly got on the board in the 11th minute (10:12) as only freshman Daniel Strachan (Lakewood, Ohio) clearing the ball off the goal line for a team save prevented Rudel from providing Saint Mary's a 1-0 lead.
Akron went on to outshot the Gaels in the opening stanza, 7-4, while the two sides combined to register three shots on goal in the first half, including two for Akron. The shots on goal for the Zips came at the 6:48 and 11:07 marks off the foot of Moutinho.
Holthusen broke the stalemate in the 56th minute (55:20) notching his second goal of the season to give Akron a 1-0 advantage. Kahsay made the play happen dribbling the ball through the top of the box to a driving Holthusen, who unfurled a laser past Saint Mary's goalkeeper Remi Prieur from 15 yards out.
A corner kick by Stephen Dougherty set up a goal from Svehlik at the 69:02 mark. Dougherty's shot from the corner was punched out for a clearance by junior goalkeeper Ben Lundt (Berlin, Germany). Svehlik was on the spot to drive the rebound past Lundt for the equalizer.
Both sides had opportunities down the stretch in regulation, but neither team was able to capitalize with a game winner. The Zips bettered Saint Mary's in second-half shots, 8-6.
Lundt posted a save on Ever De La Torre's shot at the 94:53 mark of the first overtime period, while Prieur pulled in Holthusen's strike in the 98th minute (97:30).
Lundt finished the evening making one save for the Zips, while Prieur pulled in two stops for the Gaels.
Akron returns to action on Tuesday, Oct. 3, as the Zips travel to face No. 19 Syracuse. Game time in Syracuse, N.Y., is set for 7 p.m.