AKRON, Ohio - In a battle of top 10 nationally ranked teams, a successful penalty kick by Michael Gamble proved to be the game-winning goal that lifted Wake Forest to a 2-1 victory over Akron in men's soccer action on Tuesday, Sept. 22, at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field.
The Zips recorded six of their eight shots on goal over the final 45 minutes to mount a furious second-half attack in the affair, but Akron was not able to net the equalizer as the Demon Deacons outshot the Zips in the game, 18-14.
Wake Forest took the early advantage in the showdown as Jon Bakero capitalized off passes from Jack Harrison and Kris Reaves to notch his third goal of the season from eight yards out at the 20:54 mark.
Sophomore Richie Laryea (Toronto, Ontario (Canada)) was played into the box by junior Adam Najem (Clifton, N.J.) and was able to spin around a beat the defender to net the game-tying goal for the Zips in the 30th minute (29:10). The goal was the third on the campaign for Laryea.
Akron entered the intermission tied at one despite the Demon Deacons posting an 11-3 advantage in shots in the initial stanza.
The Zips were whistled for a handball in the box in the 51st minute (50:39) that set the stage for a Wake Forest penalty kick. Stepping over the ball and delivering his team-leading sixth goal of the season was Gamble.
The Zips nearly squared the contest at two at the 62:48 mark when junior Victor Souto (Sao Paolo, Brazil) slid a ball into the box for redshirt sophomore Sam Gainford (Liverpool, England), who was denied in his shot attempt by a save from Wake Forest goalkeeper Alec Ferrell.
Laryea followed with a strong shot on goal in the 73rd minute (72:16) that was again stopped by a Farrell save.
A corner kick by Gainford at 79:44 mark squared the ball into the box to senior Andrew Souders (Amherst, Ohio), whose shot on the goal was denied by a save from Ferrell.
The Zips registered three shots, including a pair from sophomore Niko De Vera (Camas, Wash.), over the final 10 minutes, but were not able to find the back of the net.
Laryea and senior Sean Sepe (West Islip, N.Y.) paced the Akron offensive attack with three shots apiece, while Gainford, De Vera and redshirt junior Goncalo Soares (Lisbon, Portugal) added two shots each. Jacori Hayes and Gamble each registered a game-high six shots for the Demon Deacons.
Senior Jake Fenlason (San Diego, Calif.) recorded seven saves for the Zips, while Ferrell matched him with seven saves of his own for Wake Forest.
Akron returns to action with a 10:30 p.m. ET tilt at No. 25 UC Santa Barbara on Friday, Sept. 25.