AKRON, Ohio – The defending NCAA champion University of Akron men's soccer team officially began its title defense in grand fashion, blitzing Cleveland State, 5-0, to set the NCAA record for longest home unbeaten streak in front of a record-setting crowd of 5,241 fans at a FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field Saturday night.
Preseason All-American striker Darren Mattocks scored a pair of goals and assisted another as the No. 2 Zips (1-0-0) extended their home unbeaten streak to 40 games, surpassing the previous high held by Tulsa, which went undefeated in 39 consecutive home matches from 1988-'92. UA is now 38-0-2 at home during its historic run, which dates back to the start of the 2008 season.
After a pregame ceremony that included the unveiling of the 2010 NCAA Championship banner, UA kept its fans cheering into the night with a barrage of goals in a dominant performance from start to finish.
The Zips were lethal in the final third, scoring five times with their first 10 shots of the game. As a team, UA recorded 16 shots – including 10 on goal – to just four from Cleveland State, which was unable to muster any real threat. For the contest, CSU recorded just one shot on frame; a three-hopper from long range that was easily gobbled up by Akron keeper David Meves.
Mattocks, who was third in the nation with 18 goals as a true freshman a year ago, wasted little time picking up where he left off last season with a goal in the seventh minute. After receiving a lob pass from near midfield by freshman Wil Trapp, Mattocks collected his own rebound and buried a shot into the far corner of the net.
A corner kick set up the Zips' second goal of the night, which came just six minutes later when Aodhan Quinn found the head of Michael Balogun for the senior's first goal in an Akron uniform.
Pressure applied by Mattocks led directly to the Zips' third goa in the 22nd minutel. After slipping through the Vikings' back line, the Jamaican uncorked a blast from straight on that CSU keeper Brad Stuver was able to punch out. But Scott Caldwell, the hero from last season's NCAA Championship game, was there to redirect it into the net.
Unsatisfied, Mattocks made it 4-0 in Akron's favor before halftime with his second goal of the evening; finishing off a rebounded shot by freshman DeAndre Yedlin.
Fellow Jamaican, freshman Akeil Barrett provided the game's final margin with a well-executed goal early in the second half. Barrett, who split a pair of defenders, drew Stuver out of position before chipping the ball over the out-stretched keeper.
The Zips will next head to Northridge, Calif., for the Cal State Northridge Labor Day Classic. UA will play Cal State Fullerton on Thurs., Sept. 1, and the host Matadors on Sat., Sept. 3.
Zips Notebook: The capacity crowd of 5,241 easily surpassed UA's previous high of 4,744, set against Tulsa last September ... Akron was able to atone for a 2-1 defeat suffered at Cleveland State last season. It was the Zips' lone setback of the year ... The Zips have lost just once during the regular run of play in their last 51 matches ... UA improved to 35-11-3 all-time versus the Vikings.