The east end of Lee R. Jackson Soccer Field seems to be a comfort zone for the University of Akron men's soccer team.
Michael Nanchoff and Darren Mattocks each scored a goal in the second half heading in that direction to guide UA to a 2-1 win over Indiana University in an NCAA Tournament third-round match on Sunday.
A crowd of 3,225 witnessed the victory that propelled the third-seeded Zips (20-1-1) past the 14th-seeded Hoosiers (10-8-2) and into the quarterfinal round. UA will host California at 4 p.m. Saturday. The sixth-seeded Golden Bears defeated visiting Brown 2-0 on Sunday.
The triumph allowed UA to extend its home unbeaten streak to 38 games since 2008. That matches the 1982-1985 Indiana teams for the second longest streak in NCAA history, and is one off the record that Tulsa set from 1988-1992.
''I think it is very tough,'' UA coach Caleb Porter said of playing in Akron.
''Throughout my career as a player and an assistant coach, obviously at Indiana we played at a lot of tough places and then obviously being here at Akron for five years we have played in a lot of tough environments. I don't think any are as tough as this.
''It is because of the intimacy of the fans being right on top of the field and being on three and a half sides, and because of our AK-Rowdies. They are soccer specific fans. They chant, they cheer and they are passionate. They are a big reason we are so tough, especially when we're heading towards the berm, the Nash Berm [a hill on the east side]. We always seem to score at that end. It seems like there is a vacuum pulling balls into that goal at times. I knew going into the second half going toward that way that we would find a goal or two.''
The berm is named in honor of former Zips assistant coach Tom ''Doc'' Nash, whose sons Tim, Pat and Michael played at UA.
Nanchoff, a junior midfielder, scored his ninth goal of the season in the 53rd minute to give the Zips a 1-0 lead off of an assist by Mattocks.
''We talked about it at halftime, we just knew it was going to come eventually,'' Nanchoff said. ''We talked about each and every player having patience. We knew that eventually that goal was going to come.
''I got the ball in the middle and kind of hesitated a second. I saw Darren posting up at the top of the box and played it into him. He played a perfect touch back to me. I was able to take one touch in the box and slided the ball to the right of the goalie.''
Mattocks, a freshman forward, extended the Zips' lead to 2-0 with his goal in the 55th minute. Hoosiers sophomore goalkeeper Luis Soffner made a mistake trying to pass the ball to a teammate and Mattocks intercepted the pass.
''Coach Porter just tells me to be aggressive and to be sharp,'' Mattocks said.
Indiana coach Todd Yeagley said: ''It looked like a back pass to Luis and Luis didn't get much underneath it. He kind of topped it and it went right to Mattocks and he went in with a breakaway.''
Mattocks leads the Zips with 18 goals, and has scored six goals in the past four games.
''This kid is a goal scorer and when you've got a goal scorer that is hot you ride him out,'' said Porter, who is 2-1-1 as a coach against Indiana.
Porter said he subbed out Mattocks in the first half to give him a rest and some instruction.
''We talked about a few things,'' Porter said. ''We talked about the fact that this was a game where we needed him to be a man, to be alert, to be strong and to be ready for balls and put his body on the line. We talked about being proactive and being ready.''
Senior midfielder Andy Adlard scored a goal for Indiana to make the score 2-1 in the 82nd minute. Freshman midfielder Nikita Kotlov tallied the assist on the goal.
''Akron is a very good team and I felt tonight our performance for a good portion of that game was pretty good,'' Yeagley said. ''I felt we did a lot of things that we needed to do to get a result. Unfortunately, we had a bad spell in the second half.''
Former legendary Hoosiers coach Jerry Yeagley was in attendance to watch two of his former players coach: Porter and Yeagley.