Sophomore striker Darren Mattocks recorded his second hat trick of the season as The No. 4 University of Akron men's soccer team scored five second-half goals to blitz by Buffalo, 5-2, Friday night at UB Stadium.
Overall, it was the third career hat trick for Mattocks, who has scored 15 goals in 14 matches this fall, and the fourth time he has scored two or more goals in a game this year. Adding to his big night, Mattocks also assisted Akron's fourth goal late in the second half.
With the win, the Zips improved to 11-2-2 overall and 4-0 in Mid-American Conference play.
Despite UA's 9-1 advantage in shots in the first half, Akron and Buffalo (7-7-1, 2-2 MAC) played to a scoreless draw after the first 45 minutes. But the Zips rallied from deficits of 1-0 and 2-1 after the break to extend their conference unbeaten streak to 35 (33-0-2) games, which matches Appalachian State (1977-82) for the fourth-longest streak in NCAA history.
Mattocks tied the game at 1-all in the 60th minute, then found the equalizer again four minutes later. Leaving little doubt of the outcome, the Jamaican provided the game's final margin with his third goal with 12 minutes to play.
Senior Luke Holmes, who also finished with an assist, delivered the game-winner in the 66th minute with an unassisted goal.
It was a fair result for the Zips, who out-shot the Bulls 23-5 for the game, yet found themselves trailing twice after Richard Craven gave UB a 1-0 lead in the 49th minute and Andy Tiedt gave the host Bulls a 2-1 advantage in just minutes after Mattocks pulled UA even.
Junior captain Scott Caldwell made it 4-2 in the 71st minute after receiving a string of passes from Mattocks and Reinaldo Brenes, who finished with a pair of helpers in reserve.
After playing the last two matches on the road, the Zips will open a three-game homestand next Wednesday night when Bowling Green comes to FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field for a 7:30 p.m. kick off.
Zips Notebook: Mattocks has scored eight goals in his last six matches ... Friday's match marked the meeting of the top two teams in the MAC ... UA improved to 21-1-1 all-time against Buffalo in a series that dates back to the 1996 season and has now won its last 25 regular-season matches against the MAC ... The Zips are 31-1-1 against the league during the regular season under UA head coach Caleb Porter all-time.