Win No. 700 in program history came with a little extra sauce Saturday.

Playing its third game in seven days, the 24th-ranked Akron men’s soccer team beat St. Mary’s (Calif.) 2-1 in golden goal fashion.

Faisal Ghaffur sent the 1,813 in attendance at FirstEnergy Stadium home happy when he scored in the second overtime on a pass from Nick Hinds with 6:55 remaining.

The victory capped off a three-game homestand during which the Zips (5-2-1) beat No. 21 Massachusetts Lowell (5-0), No. 1 Michigan State (4-1) and the Gaels.

“That was a gritty win,” UA coach Jared Embick said. “It was a terrific game by us. I think everyone was thinking it could have been a letdown game by us. It could be a trap game.

“Give St. Mary’s a lot of credit. They played hard. I thought they played very well tonight. They really competed. At times, you know, they were better. We had to fight. We had to work to get this result even though we weren’t physically the best, but I couldn’t be prouder.”

The win over St. Mary’s (3-4-3), which came in on a three-game unbeaten streak, had all the makings of a trap game as Embick stated.

UA’s victory over the Spartans on Wednesday was the biggest victory over a ranked opponent since the Zips beat No. 2 Tulsa on Sept. 24, 2010 (4-0).

UA was not only the talk of the nation for beating Michigan State, but for how the Zips beat the Spartans.

All of that could have been a recipe for disaster against St. Mary’s.

“I was more proud of our effort tonight than how we played Wednesday,” Embick said. “I know we can do it in some of the big games and the big moments. This is where this team, in the last two years, is showing consistency after a good opponent, a good win.

“It may not be a sexy opponent. We have some difficult games we have to be ready for. In the past, we’ve had a letdown. For me, this will be tremendous for us to draw upon.”

It looked like things were finally going the Zips’ way when Ezana Kahsay found Stuart Holthusen on the right with 34:40 left in regulation, but UA was brought back down to earth when Jakub Svehlik tied the score with 20:58 left from 25 yards out after Ben Lundt punched a corner kick attempt by the Gaels right to the midfielder’s foot.

That brought overtime and left those expecting a win hanging in the balance until Ghaffur’s heroics.

“It was great to get the goal,” Ghaffur said. “Most importantly, it was great to get the three points. It wasn’t the prettiest game, but we were able to come out with it. It’s great for the momentum of the team going onto the next game.”

It was also the first time UA won a game without leading scorer Sam Gainford (4 goals, 1 assist), who left in the first half in the win over Michigan State with a leg injury.

The Zips hope their forward will be back soon, but grabbing a victory without the standout can only help.

“We have a few players that can step up,” Ghaffur said. “We can take advantage of the opportunities.”