September 15, 2013

Stevenson's Golden Goal Downs San Diego State In Double Overtime

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AKRON, Ohio –  With a pair of goals, including the game-winner in the 105th minute, senior Eric Stevenson lifted the No. 7 University of Akron men's soccer team to a 2-1 double overtime victory over San Diego State Sunday afternoon at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field.

With the score knotted at 1-all, freshman Adam Najem sent a corner kick to the near post where Stevenson gathered it, made a turn and sent a needle through the Aztecs' defense and into the back of the net.

It was Stevenson's fifth game-winning goal of his Akron career and the second time he has scored multiple goals in a match. With the win, the Zips improved to 4-2-0 while dropping SDSU to 2-3-0.

For the first time this season, UA scored a goal in the first half thanks to an impressive strike from Stevenson in the 11th minute. The Columbus native gave Akron the 1-0 lead when he took possession of a deflected shot and fired it home from the top of the box. 

Unfortunately for the Zips, however, their lead didn't last long as San Diego St. countered with a soft goal to equalize following an Akron turnover deep in their own territory. SDSU's Kody Duff jumped on an ill-advised pass and set up teammate Abraham Villon, who buried it from close range.

After allowing three shots against VCU Friday night, UA allowed just six – including two on frame – to San Diego State Sunday. The Zips out-shot the Aztecs 18-2 after the first half and 26-6 overall. In total, eight different Akron players recorded at least one shot on goal, including three from Stevenson.

Stevenson became UA's first multiple-goal scorer of the season. He last matched the feat with a two-goal effort in the Zips' 5-0 route of Florida Atlantic last October. With the win, Akron improved to 7-0-1 following a loss during the regular season since 2008 and has not dropped consecutive matches in six years.

Akron's four-game homestand continues next Saturday when Bowling Green comes to FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field for the Mid-American Conference opener. The Zips and Falcons will kick off at 1 p.m. ET.

Zips Notebook: UA was forced to play without junior defender and team captain Bryan Gallego, who was scratched due to injury ... at one point during the match, the Zips had a combination of seven players who were either freshmen or sophomores on the field at the same time ... one of those freshmen, Brett Gravatt earned his first career start, getting the nod at right back ... Sunday's match was the first meeting between San Diego State and Akron ... VCU, which edged the Zips 1-0 Friday night, defeated Niagara by the same score to win The University of Akron Tournament ... it was the first home win for Jared Embick as head coach of the Zips.

The University of Akron All-Tournament Team
Kharlton Belmar, VCU
Assane Keita, VCU
Jose Manel, VCU
Juan Monge Solano, VCU
Reinaldo Brenes, Akron
Victor Souto, Akron
Eric Stevenson, Akron
Blake Hylen, San Diego St.
August Wangberg, San Diego St.
William Banahene, Niagara
Tim Magnusson, Niagara

Tournament Offensive MVP
: Dennis Castillo, VCU
Tournament Defensive MVP: Andrew Wells, VCU