Junior Blair Gavin converted a penalty kick in the 75th minute to help the University of Akron men's soccer team to a 1-0 win over Southern Methodist University in its season opener Friday night at the Radisson Tulsa Airport Classic.
The Zips, the nation's top defensive team in 2008, posted a shutout with freshman goalkeeper David Meves starting. UA's starting defensive unit consisted of freshmen Zarek Valentin and Chad Barson, junior Chris Korb and sophomore Kofi Sarkodie.
UA outshot SMU 7-4, and each team had two shots on goal. The Zips had a 3-2 advantage in corner kicks.
Sophomore forward Darlington Nagbe paced the Zips' offense with three shots, one of which was on goal.
The Zips are ranked No. 1 in the country, according to Top Drawer Soccer. Soccer America ranks the Zips No. 2, and UA was voted No. 3 by the coaches in the NSCAA/adidas poll.
UA, which improved to 3-1-0 in season openers under coach Caleb Porter, plays Tulsa at 8:30 p.m. Sunday.