Order was successfully restored in the University of Akron men's soccer universe Friday at Lee Jackson Field.
UA entered its match with Florida Atlantic University motivated and ready to move on after a tie at Ohio State on Wednesday night.
The Zips accomplished that goal with a convincing 3-0 win over the Owls in front of a crowd of 3,232.
Junior Kofi Sarkodie, freshman Perry Kitchen and junior Michael Nanchoff each provided a spark for UA, the consensus No. 1-ranked team in the country.
Sarkodie scored two goals, Kitchen netted one goal and Nanchoff recorded three assists for the Zips (7-0-1, 2-0-0 Mid-American Conference).
''We wanted to respond from Wednesday,'' UA coach Caleb Porter said. ''The guys felt like they had something to prove. We were very sharp to start the game and got a goal early.
''It was an efficient win; we got the shutout. I thought overall it was a very solid performance after Wednesday. It was important to respond after that type of game. It was an emotional game [with OSU].''
Sarkodie scored his first goal in the ninth minute from five yards away after a free kick by Nanchoff.
''Last game was certainly a disappointment when we allowed the goal with two seconds left in the game,'' Sarkodie said. ''Today the challenge was to come out and get back to our roots and do the things that allow us to be successful.''
Kitchen netted his goal in the 11th minute from six yards away after a corner kick by Nanchoff.
''The mindset was to come in and respond in a positive manner, and that is what we did,'' Nanchoff said. ''We came out strong, and we came out sharp with two early goals.''
Sarkodie scored his second goal in the 53rd minute from 16 yards away off a pass from Nanchoff.
''In the pregame huddle the guys were all saying: 'Let's go, let's go' '' Sarkodie said.
''Today was an important stepping stone into the next third of the season.''
FAU sophomore goalkeeper James McCormick, a UA transfer, was consistently tested throughout the match. The Zips held an advantage over the Owls (2-4-1, 0-1-0 MAC) in shots (16-2), shots on goal (7-0) and corner kicks (6-1).
''They are competitors. I don't need to say much,'' Porter said. ''We talked after the game about the performance and moving forward what we need to do better. Individually, guys spoke in the locker room after the Ohio State game. That shows to me that they are taking ownership.''
Junior Darlington Nagbe and freshman Darren Mattocks were the Zips starters at forward. Nanchoff, Kitchen, senior Anthony Ampaipitakwong and sophomore Scott Caldwell started at midfield.
Sarkodie paced a defense that included senior Chris Korb, and sophomores Zarek Valentin and Chad Barson in front of sophomore goalkeeper David Meves.
The three-goal advantage allowed Porter to get several reserves playing time and rest starters.
Sophomores Ben Speas, Thomas Schmitt, and freshmen McKauly Tulloch, Martin Ontiveros, Eric Stevenson, Reinaldo Brenes each entered the Zips lineup as reserves along with juniors Michael Balogun and Matt Dagilis and senior Enrique Paez.
''The result [with OSU] didn't hurt us,'' Porter said. ''A tie on the road against a ranked opponent is actually a good result, but when you are used to winning, a tie feels like the end of the world.
''I think in the end, we got a good wake-up call.''