Nov. 3, 2010

Courtesy of Akron Athletics

After suffering its first loss of the season, The University of Akron men's soccer team got back to basics with a convincing 1-0 victory at Michigan State Wednesday afternoon at Old College Field.

The Zips (15-1-1), who held on to their No. 1 NCAA RPI ranking this week despite the setback at Cleveland State, dominated possession and attacked the Spartan defense relentlessly from the opening whistle and posted a 14-3 advantage in shots for the contest.

A long run by defender Zarek Valentin set up a combination play by Darlington Nagbe and Darren Mattocks in the 58th minute that proved to be the difference in the game. Nagbe crossed the ball from the right side of the box to Mattocks, who beat MSU goalkeeper Avery Steinlage from 10 yards out for his team-leading 12th goal of the season.

When MSU (11-6-0) did have possession it was unable to string many passes together and had just one shot on frame, which came in the first half off a corner kick. The Spartans, who entered the match with an RPI rating of 12, attempted just one shot in the second half.

The Zips created multiple scoring chances in the first half but couldn't find the net. Michael Nanchoff took a long-ranged strike from the top of the box early in the game that forced a diving stop by Steinlage. Nagbe fed Mattocks a through ball on the right wing minutes later but Steinlage slid in to make the stop once again.

Akron will next conclude the regular season with a Mid-American Conference game at Hartwick Saturday at 7 p.m. (ET).

Zips Notebook: Akron improved to 13-4-5 all-time versus teams from the Big Ten Conference under fifth-year head coach Caleb Porter, including a 10-1-3 mark since 2008 ... UA also improved to 23-10-1 vs. Michigan State overall ... Mattocks has four game-winning goals on the year, which matches Kofi Sarkodie for the team lead ... Valentin's assist represented the first point of his career.