The answer to the success of the University of Akron men’s soccer team during an amazing postseason run is quite simple: Light the lamp on one end. Keep it dim on the other.

As the unseeded Zips (13-6-2) prepare for an Elite Eight game at ninth-seeded Stanford (12-3-5) on Friday, the team has found two key pieces in the NCAA Tournament in forward Marcel Zajac and keeper Ben Lundt.

“I think for both of them it’s been their past experience,” UA coach Jared Embick said. “Ben’s been through a Final Four and two tournaments. Marcel’s been through two tournaments and started last year’s Final Four. They have that belief in what we can achieve and what they can do individually and use it to their advantage and are playing really well.”

Zajac has been nothing short of incredible during the Mid-American Conference Tournament and NCAA Tournament run. In six postseason games, the junior has three game-winners.

He’s also scored at least a point in eight of the past nine games and was the man of the hour Sunday with a goal 51 seconds into the second half during UA's 1-0 win over top-seeded Wake Forest.

“My confidence has just kept growing throughout the game,” Zajac said. “We’re starting to get more results. From that point on, my team gave me a lot of confidence, too. I think I’ve just been in the right spot at the right time in a lot of games. I’m just happy I’m contributing to the team and getting the wins.”

Zajac (8 goals, 7 assists) is quick to point out the efforts of teammates David Egbo (12, 5), Ezana Kahsay (4, 4), Morgan Hackworth (4, 4) and Diogo Pacheco (5, 2), but they’re just as quick to praise him.

Egbo, who as the man on the other end of Zajac’s goal against the Demon Deacons, knew Zajac could be this type of player once he got through an early season injury.

“He’s playing dominant soccer,” Egbo said. “He’s playing hard. He’s looking for his teammates and he’s playing with full confidence right now. When he came in at the beginning of the year, he was still hurt. Now, that he’s healed up, he’s on fire. You can’t stop him.”

The same can be said for the 6-foot-6 Lundt, who made three otherworldly saves against Wake Forest to help the Zips advance.

During UA’s current streak, he’s logged three shutouts and hasn’t given up more than a goal in the other four.

Some of that comes from laser focus and knowing his defense is going to keep shots to a minimum, some of it comes from a two-game stretch against Creighton and Northern Illinois during which Embick sat the senior in an effort to clear his head.

“It’s tough to get benched, but it taught me to focus on the task,” Lundt said. “I was helping my teammates even though I wasn’t playing and when the opportunity came for me to get back on the pitch, I was ready to help the team right away.

“My confidence comes from the overall confidence of the team. Going into the Wake Forest game, I knew we were going against a good team and I was going to have to make some good saves. Luckily, it worked out and we got what we deserved.”

It has worked out in large part because Lundt is sporting an 0.57 goals-against average during the streak and has trimmed his overall average to 1.08.

“We’re getting more confident the more we know each other,” UA defender Pol Hernandez said. “With Ben in goal, our defense knows when someone gets a chance he is going to be there.”