AKRON, Ohio – Senior Nate Shultz (Mayfield, Ohio) picked an opportune time for his first career multi-goal affair as his two goals propelled the 24th-ranked University of Akron men's soccer team to a 4-1 victory over No. 1 Michigan State (7-1-1) on Wednesday, Sept. 27, at FirstEnergy Stadium Cub Cadet Field.
Shultz' brace set the tone for the Zips (4-2-1) third consecutive victory over a ranked opponent and extended Akron's unbeaten streak to five straight matches.
The triumph marked highest-rated team the Zips have defeated at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field since then top-rated Akron handed No. 2 Tulsa a 4-0 setback on Sept. 24, 2010.
The Spartans came into their showdown with the Zips having surrendered only one goal on the campaign and it was Shultz' first tally of the season in the 16th minute (15:55) that ended Michigan State's run of three consecutive shutouts.
Sophomore Nick Hinds (Plantation, Fla.) delivered a ball in from the corner of the box to just outside the six-yard box which Shultz leveled into the back of the net for a 1-0 Zips' lead.
Akron continued to penetrate the Spartan's defensive third in the half as the Zips went on to post an 8-1 advantage in first-half shots, including 5-0 margin in shots on goal.
Freshman David Egbo (Enugu, Nigeria) nearly extended Akron's lead to 2-0 at the 41:51 mark as only Jimmy Fiscus clearing the ball off the goal line for a team save prevented Egbo's second goal of the season.
Capitalizing on the momentum, Shultz earned his second tally of the evening in the 45th minute (44:28) off a pair of key inside-out passes for assists from redshirt sophomore Skye Harter (Copley, Ohio) and senior Stuart Holthusen (Auckland, New Zealand) to push Akron's lead at halftime to 2-0.
Hinds continued his strong play in the second half as finessed his away around the Michigan State defenders at the 70:04 mark and blasted a ball into the back of the net for his second goal of the season to give the Zips a 3-0 advantage.
Akron's bid for a third straight shutout was thwarted in the 81st minute (80:58) when Ryan Scott played a ball of his body and into the back of the net off an assist from Hunter Barone.
Freshman Joáo Moutinho (Lisbon, Portugal) capped the Zips' scoring efforts on the evening registering his first career goal at the 84:50 mark to account for the final 4-1 margin. Egbo soared around the backline and played a ball into the box that senior Niko De Vera (Camas, Wash.) flicked off to Egbo, who rocketed a ball past Michigan State goalkeeper Jimmy Hague for the goal.
The four-goal effort marked the second straight time at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field that the Zips have posted four or more goals against the Spartans. Akron bested Michigan State, 4-1, on Oct. 21, 2015.
The Zips finished the affair garnering a 14-6 advantage in shots, including a 7-3 difference in shots on goal.
Moutinho collected a team- and career-high five shots, while Shultz and Egbo each tallied two strikes of their own. Six different Spartans recorded shots.
Junior goalkeeper Ben Lundt (Berlin, Germany) made one save for the Zips, while Hague pulled in four stops for Michigan State.
Akron returns to action on Saturday, Sept. 30, as the Zips close out a three-game homestand welcoming Saint Mary's (Calif.) to FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field for a 7 p.m. tilt.