[CHARLOTTE-AKRON] A first-half goal by Atlantic 10 Freshman of the Year Giuseppe Gentile proved to be the difference as Charlotte knocked off defending national champion Akron, 1-0, at Transamerica Field Sunday night in the third round of the NCAA Tournament.
The 49ers scored the only goal of the match in the 25th minute when Gentile buried a cross from Jennings Rex into the top right corner of the net. It was the first time the Zips had allowed a first-half goal all year.
Akron's best chance came in the 63rd minute when Darren Mattocks headed DeAndre Yedlin's cross on goal but Charlotte goalkeeper Klay Davis flicked it over the crossbar and out of play.
Mattocks finished the season with 21 goals, currently second in the nation behind fellow Jamaican Ashton Bennett's 23 goal for Coastal Carolina.
Akron goalkeeper David Meves made a pair of key saves late to keep the Zips in the game, the first in the 74th minute with a point-blank rejection of a shot from Evan James and then with a save on a shot by Gentile in the 81st minute on a breakaway.
Charlotte improved to and 15-4-2 overall and 9-0-0 at home in 2011.
While the season was perhaps not what the Zips hoped it would be, they returned to the round of 16 for the fourth consecutive year -- not bad for a team that lost an MLS-record seven starters to the SuperDraft in January.
Mattocks, a sophomore, could come out early and go high in the 2012 SuperDraft.