AKRON, Ohio - A goal just 39 seconds into the game proved to be too much for the University of Akron men's soccer team to overcome as the Zips (7-5-2, 2-1-0 MAC) suffered a 3-1 setback versus West Virginia (7-5-1, 1-2-0 MAC) on Saturday, Oct. 22, at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field.
The loss marked the first for Akron in Mid-American Conference play since Western Michigan bested the Zips, 1-0, on Oct. 25, 2014.
Akron bettered the Mountaineers in the affair in shots, 19-10, including 13-5 in the second half, but West Virginia outshot the Zips on goal, 7-6.
Freshman Jonathan Lewis (Plantation, Fla.) directed Akron with a game-high five shots, while senior Brad Ruhaak (Akron, Ohio), redshirt junior Sam Gainford (Liverpool, England) and senior Goncalo Soares (Lisbon, Portugal) recorded four, two and two shots, respectively. Jad Arslan led West Virginia with a team-high three shots.
Sophomore goalkeeper Ben Lundt (Berlin, Germany) finished the evening with four saves for the Zips, while Jose Santos made five stops for the Mountaineers.
Joey Piatczyc scored what proved to be the game-winning tally just 39 seconds into the game sending the ball into the net off of a pair of assists from Felix Angerer and Sebastian Garcia-Her.
The Zips garnered shots on goal at the 8:17, 10:26 and 115:55 marks, respectively, from Lewis, Gainford and redshirt sophomore Ezana Kahsay (Asmeras, Eritrea), but were denied on each opportunity by saves from Santos.
Akron trailed at the intermission, 1-0, despite posting a 6-5 advantage in shots.
Kahsay nearly netted the equalizer in the 60th minute (59:54) as his shot inside the box found the back of the net. Unfortunately for the Zips, a call of offsides negated the tally for Akron.
West Virginia capitalized on the call as Arslan scored the first of two second-half tallies at the 62:32 mark. to give the Mountaineers a 2-0 lead. Arslan finished the give-and-go goal off an assist from Angerer.
Arslan pushed the Zips into a 3-0 deficit in the 71st minute (70:11) scoring an unassisted tally.
Akron had strong scoring opportunities at the 78:47 and 78:55 marks from Lewis and freshman Nick Hinds (Plantation, Fla.), but both were thwarted as Lewis' attempt was saved by Santos and Hinds' shot sailed high.
The Zips denied Santos from achieving the shutout as Ruhaak registered his fourth goal of the season off a header in the 87th minute (86:04). The ball was served into the box off a corner kick from redshirt freshman Skye Harter (Copley, Ohio).
Akron returns to action with an in-state showdown at Ohio State on Wednesday, Oct. 26. Game time at Jesse Owens Stadium is set for 7 p.m.