SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Sparked by goals from redshirt sophomore Sam Gainford (Liverpool, England) and sophomore Stuart Holthusen (Auckland, New Zealand), the sixth-ranked Akron men's soccer team notched a 2-0 triumph past No. 25 UC Santa Barbara (4-3-1) in front of 7,283 fans on Friday, Sept. 25.
The victory was the third straight for the Zips (5-2-1) on the road over a ranked opponent after Akron edged No. 4 Georgetown (1-0 on Sept. 4) and No. 6 Maryland (3-2 on Sept. 7).
The Zips outshot the Gauchos on the evening, 13-6, including 9-1 on goal. Gainford and junior Adam Najem (Clifton, N.J.) directed the Akron offensive attack recording a game-high three shots apiece. Adding two shots each were sophomores Richie Laryea (Toronto, Ontario (Canada)) and Nate Shultz (Mayfield, Ohio). Ahinga Selemani paced UC Santa Barbara with a three-shot tilt.
Senior goalkeeper Jake Fenlason (San Diego, Calif.) stopped the lone shot on goal he faced for Akron, while Justin Vom Steeg corralled seven stops for the Gauchos.
Najem registered the game's first shot on goal delivering a strike that was saved by Vom Steeg at the 3:17 mark.
Gainford turned in the first of his three first-half shots on goal in the 26th minute (25:36), a shot that was thwarted by a Vom Steeg save.
In the 35th minute (34:29) Gainford redirected the deflection off of Vom Steeg on his own shot to find the back of the net for his team-leading fifth goal of the season.
Laryea added the Zips' fifth shot on goal in the initial stanza at the 36:43 mark, but was denied by a stop from Vom Steeg.
Akron outshot the Gauchos in the first 45 minutes, 7-3, including 5-1 on goal.
Shultz registered only his second shot of the season and first on goal for the Zips in the 54th minute (53:28). Vom Steeg denied the strike with his fifth save of the evening.
Shultz and junior Victor Souto (Sao Paolo, Brazil) had their shots on goal at the 56:05 and 56:42 marks, respectively, pushed away by saves from Vom Steeg.
Holthusen closed the scoring in the affair extending the Zips' lead to 2-0 in the 87th minute (86:48) intercepting a UC Santa Barbara pass in the offensive end en route to registering his first goal of the season.
Akron returns to action on Wednesday, Sept. 30, as the Zips host No. 21 Penn State at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field. Game time is set for 7 p.m.