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SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The No. 6 University of Akron men's soccer team stayed unbeaten on the season after earning a 1-0 victory over No. 10 Indiana Friday night in the first game of the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament at Alumni Stadium.
Midfielder Eric Stevenson netted the game-winner in the 19th minute for the Zips, who improved to 3-0-1 on the year, and goalkeeper David Meves turned in perhaps his best performance on the season with four saves, including a pair of big stops in the second half.
With the victory, Akron claimed its third straight win against the Hoosiers (3-1-1), which suffered their first defeat of 2012, and improved to 3-1-1 against IU under seventh-year head coach Caleb Porter. The road-warrior Zips have been defeated just four times in their last 41 (31-4-6) regular-season road matches dating back to the 2008 season.
It was a dominant first half for UA, which out-shot Indiana, 7-5, and earned a 5-1 advantage for corner kicks. But the stats didn't tell the whole story as Akron was on the ball for the majority of the first 45 minutes, which was played mostly in Indiana's backfield.
DeAndre Yedlin created the Zips' first scoring chance early on by blowing through a trio of IU defenders and leaving the ball for Thomas Schmitt, whose shot was smothered by Indiana goalkeeper Luis Soffner. It was the first of seven saves on the night for senior netminder.
The Zips broke through minutes later however when Dillon Serna shook his mark in the left flank and cross the ball to Stevenson, who tucked his shot just inside the far right post from straight on. It was the second goal and game-winner of the season for Stevenson, who also opened the scoring in Akron's 4-0 win against Florida Gulf Coast on opening day.
Yedlin nearly gave UA a 2-0 lead in the 41st minute with a rip from the top of the box that was headed for the upper right 90. But Soffner soared to his left to punch away the would-be goal.
UA survived a scare just before halftime when a turnover left Nikita Kotlov with space in front of the net. But the junior's shot banged off the right post and out of harm's way.
Indiana was more formidable in the second half but the Zips – led by a pair of great saves by Meves – were up to the task. In both cases, Meves turned away shots from Indiana's Eriq Zavaleta.
The first came in the 54th minute when Zavaleta intercepted a Zips' clearance and fired a shot from eight yards out that Meves punched over the net. Five minutes later, Meves got down to smother a low liner by Zavaleta to preserve Akron's lead.
For the match, Akron out-shot Indiana, 15-11, including an 8-4 edge on-frame. The Zips also posted a 9-7 edge in corner kicks.
UA will conclude play at the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament Sunday when it takes on host No. 17 Notre Dame. Kick off is scheduled for 2:15 p.m. ET
Zips Notebook: Akron improved to 3-0-0 on the season when scoring first and is a remarkable 98-2-4 when scoring first since 2006 ... The Zips are 8-1-3 against top-25 (NSCAA) during the regular season since 2009 .. UA, which is now 7-23-2 all-time against IU in a series dating back to the 1967 season, is unbeaten in its last four contests (3-0-1) against the Hoosiers ... Entering play today, Indiana had not allowed a goal in its last three matches.