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AKRON, Ohio – Junior Reinaldo Brenes recorded his first career hat trick to lead The No. 7 University of Akron men's soccer team to a 4-0 victory over Buffalo Saturday night at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field.
With the victory, the Zips (6-1-2, 2-0-0 Mid-American Conference) extended their league unbeaten streak to 40 games (37-0-3), which represents the third-longest streak in NCAA history. Akron also recorded its fourth consecutive shutout and has not allowed a goal in its last 391 minutes of play.
UA was in control from start to finish Saturday, out-shooting the Bulls (2-8-1, 0-1-0 MAC) by a margin of 28-2 overall and 12-0 on-goal. Moreover, the Zips earned 12 corner kicks on the night while holding UB to none.
Brenes, who entered the match with one goal in 32 career games, recorded the Zips' first hat trick of the season with all three goals coming in the first half. Ironically, it was Akron's first hat trick since current Major League Soccer star Darren Mattocks achieved the feat against the Bulls in the Zips' last meeting at Buffalo in 2011.
Brenes found the net in the 12th minute, the 24th minute and a final time in the 38th minute to give the Zips a 3-0 lead at halftime. Scott Caldwell, who assisted Brenes' second score, added his team-leading sixth goal of the season in the 88th minute on a penalty kick.
Saturday's match also represented the 44th shutout in Zips' goalkeeper David Meves' career. He now trails Akron's all-time leader Evan Bush (2005-08) in the category by four.
A corner kick service from Aodhan Quinn found the head of Brenes, who flicked the ball home from 12 yards out at the 11:13 mark to give Akron a 1-0 lead.
Brenes was on the receiving end of a beautiful combination play at 23:46 to make it 2-0. Caldwell played the ball to Yedlin, who beat his man on the right flank before crossing it into the goal's mouth. Brenes slid in to beat the keeper from close range and give the Zips some breathing room.
Brenes completed the hat trick at 37:17 when Eric Stevenson sprung him with a through ball from midfield. Brenes chipped the ball across the goal from the near left flank and into the right corner of the net.
Yedlin was brought down in the box at the 87:40 mark to set up the penalty kick for Caldwell, who improved to 2-for-2 in that category for the year.
The Zips will look to extend their four-game unbeaten streak Friday when MAC foe Florida Atlantic comes to FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field for a 7:30 p.m. kick off.
Zips Notebook: Akron improved to 22-1-1 all-time against Buffalo and is unbeaten in its last 17 matches (16-0-1) against the Bulls ... The Zips, who have won the last seven MAC regular-season titles, are also 42-2-3 against MAC schools under seventh-year head coach Caleb Porter ... UA has lost just once in its last 57 matches (49-1-7) at home, dating back to the start of the 2008 season.