The top-ranked University of Akron men's soccer team wasted little time to make a statement nationally against a highly touted opponent.
UA opened the 2010 season with a 3-0 win over No. 4 North Carolina in the Carolina Nike Classic at Chapel Hill on Friday night.
‘‘It was a very efficient result,’’ UA coach Caleb Porter said. ‘‘The game was a bit closer than the score might indicate, but that is soccer. We were opportunistic. We finished our chances.’’
Redshirt freshman midfielder Eric Stevenson scored his first collegiate goal in the eighth minute to give the Zips a 1-0 lead. Junior defender Kofi Sarkodie assisted on the goal.
‘‘Obviously this was a great way to start the season off,’’ Stevenson said. ‘‘It felt good to score the first goal. This is a big win for us.’’
Freshman midfielder Perry Kitchen extended UA's lead to 2-0 in the 22nd minute with his first collegiate goal. Redshirt junior midfielder Michael Nanchoff assisted on the goal.
‘‘It is always good to score, and to score a goal in the first game was awesome,’’ Kitchen said. ‘‘The victory for the team was great. We have been waiting for this game. We had this marked on our schedule, and to get this result is amazing.’’
UA junior forward Darlington Nagbe concluded the scoring with a goal in the 65th minute off of an assist from senior defender Chris Korb.
Zips sophomore goalkeeper David Meves made six saves and earned the shutout.
Sarkodie, Korb, and sophomores Chad Barson and Zarek Valentin were UA's starting defenders. Senior midfielder Anthony Ampaipitakwong and freshman forward Darren Mattocks also started.
‘‘I thought it was a total team effort,’’ Porter said. ‘‘We played six guys off the bench. Every one of them gave us a spark and we will need that throughout the year. I am feeling really good about our depth.’’
Zips sophomores Scott Caldwell, Thomas Schmitt and Ben Speas entered the game as reserves along with freshmen McKauly Tulloch and Martin Ontiveros and junior Michael Balogun.
UA will travel to Winston-Salem and play No. 3 Wake Forest at 7 p.m. Sunday.