The Demon Deacon men’s soccer team traveled to Raleigh, NC to take on the NC State Wolfpack in what shaped up to be an ACC heavyweight match.
Before the match, the Wolfpack were undefeated at home, including a 1-0 win over No. 6 Clemson. The first half certainly looked like Wake Forest was up for a long night against NC state, as both teams struggled to find the back of the net in a defensive-minded showing of two highly defensive teams.
However, during the second half, the Demon Deacons sparked a couple of offensive plays that defined the match in their favor. After an assist by senior Jon Bakero, senior Luis Argudo dribbled to the right side of the post and finished to open up the score for the Deacs. A couple of minutes later, Steven Echevarria found the back of the net after a cross from Bakero.
After the second score Wake Forest seized on the momentum of the game, scoring only 20 seconds after the goal from Echevarria to increase the lead. An accurate over-the-top ball from freshman Brandon Servania sets Argudo to score from near the post, adding final numbers to the Wake Forest 3-0 win.
As stated before, the Wolfpack were undefeated at home and only surrendered a total of three goals in the last four games at home.
Coming back home from a huge road win, the Demon Deacons faced a South Carolina squad that has been struggling to find its first road win.
However, what looked to be an easy game at home turned into an electric, down to the wire match against the Gamecocks. On the lone shot attempt of South Carolina in the first half, the Gamecocks capitalized on some defensive miscues to open up the score at Spry Stadium. Around the 30 minute mark, the Gamecocks committed a foul inside the box that led Bakero to score, his sixth goal of the season. After Bakero’s score, the Deacs kept the Gamecocks under pressure the rest of the match.
However, it was not until the 88 minute mark, in a game that looked destined to overtime, that the Wake Forest soccer team found the back of the net again. After a well-placed pass by Bakero, sophomore Ema Twumasi scored the game-winner off the left side of the post. This was Bakero’s 10th assist of the season, a team-leading number.
After the win over South Carolina, the Demon Deacons climbed back to No. 2 in the nation, only behind the Indiana Hoosiers.
Although the game against South Carolina proved to be tougher than expected, the Wake Forest squad has been consistently playing good defense lately, producing a four-game streak of shutouts over the last four games.
Coach Muuss has been focusing all season long on the importance of playing strong defense and so far, the black and gold squad boasts the best defense in the nation.
To go along with a high defensive ranking, Wake Forest has the second-best offense in the country with an average of 2.8 goals per game. It is also worth noting that the two players with the most assists this season are from Wake Forest with Jon Bakero (10) and Servania (8). This shows the quality of their playmakers this season, and how well they create scoring opportunities for one another.
Wake Forest will face No. 6 in the nation Clemson this Friday at 6 pm at Spry Stadium. Expect the stadium to be packed, as two top 10 teams square off with the Atlantic Division lead at stake as well as the accolade of cataloguing another top ten win.