There would be no letdown for the University of Akron men’s soccer team Friday night.
The seventh-ranked Zips were expected to easily handle visiting Florida Atlantic University. They did not disappoint.
UA (7-1-2, 3-0-0) quickly erased any doubt, scoring three early goals and coasting to a 5-0 victory in a Mid-American Conference match before 2,133 fans who endured chilly conditions and intermittent drizzle.
Juniors Eric Stevenson and Reinaldo Brenes each scored twice, and a stifling defense held the opponent without a shot on goal for the second game in a row.
“A lot of times this type of game can be difficult,” Zips coach Caleb Porter said. “On paper, it doesn’t always get the players up to play when they look at the record of a team like FAU.
“We knew they had a good team, though, and in this sport you have to show up and play. Otherwise you can stumble. And you have seen teams that have stumbled.”
Porter pointed out some other highly ranked teams, like North Carolina and Louisville, that have fallen recently. The Zips did not let that happen in a dominating performance.
They outshot the Owls 23-5, and 9-0 in shots on goal. Although not recording a save, senior goalkeeper David Meves posted his fifth shutout in a row and 44th of his career, four short of the UA record held by Evan Bush who preceded Meves as the Zips’ starter.
Freshman Dillon Serna contributed a goal and an assist, and senior Scott Caldwell added two assists.
Brenes, who only recently became a starter, has five goals in the past two games and also had an assist Friday.
He scored the first goal on a header exactly nine minutes into the game, with an assist from sophomore DeAndre Yedlin. Ten minutes later, Stevenson blasted an 18-yard shot past diving goalkeeper Jeremy Crumpton, and in the 26th minute, he kicked in another from similar distance for a 3-0 lead. Caldwell assisted on both.
Serna and Brenes each scored a goal in the second half
“It feels good, just have to keep it going,” said Stevenson, who now has five goals in his first year as a starter. “I struggled a little bit the first couple plays of the game but just had to make some passes and get myself going and I was able to do that.”
The Zips start a two-game road trip next week, at Penn State Wednesday and at MAC foe Northern Illinois Oct. 13.
“The performance today showed how hungry this team is,” Porter said. “Shows how professional they’re approaching each game.”