AKRON, Ohio – Behind another multiple-goal performance from sophomore striker Darren Mattocks, the No. 3 University of Akron men's soccer team cruised to a 2-0 shutout victory over Northern Illinois Saturday at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field.
Mattocks found the net in the 16th minute and then again in the 32nd minute to lead the Zips (8-1-2, 2-0-0 Mid-American Conference), who limited NIU to just three shots all night. With the win, UA extended its NCAA-record home unbeaten streak to 44 games (41-0-3) while also running its conference undefeated streak to 33 contests, which is the fifth-longest run in NCAA history.
In all, it was the third time Mattocks has scored more than one goal in a match this fall. The Jamaican native, who scored 18 goals in 25 contests a year ago, found the net twice in the season opener against Cleveland State then recorded the second hat trick of his career at Tulsa on Sept. 24.
UA dominated the Huskies (8-3-0, 0-2-0) from start to finish with a 13-3 advantage in shots, including a 6-1 margin on frame.
Two of NIU's shots were from distance and sailed harmlessly wide in the first half. The third, which came late in the second half on a direct free kick, required a terrific save and clearance from preseason All-American David Meves, who made a number of great reads on NIU set pieces throughout the match.
The Zips took a 1-0 lead early on a restart opportunity of their own after DeAndre Yedlin was tackled from behind on the right flank about six yards out from the penalty area. Aodhan Quinn sent the subsequent free kick into the box where Mattocks crashed through and headed the ball into the back of the net.
Mattocks then essentially put the game away with UA's second goal just 15 minutes later. From just past midfield, senior Luke Holmes slipped the ball to Mattocks, who had gotten behind the Huskies' back four and slammed the ball past Northern Illinois keeper Jordan Godsey, far post.
Akron's current three-game homestand continues next Wednesday night when Penn State pays visit to FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field. The Zips and Nittany Lions will kick off at 7:30 p.m. (ET)
Zips Notebook: Saturday's win was the 98th of head coach Caleb Porter's career ... UA has won its last seven meetings with NIU and is 18-3-1 in the all-time series ... The Zips have won their last 23 regular-season matches against the MAC daring back to the 2007 season.