Throughout the season, the Wake Forest soccer team has been successful in setting the tone early and dictating the tempo of the match. This past Friday was no different. The Demon Deacons started out well, pressuring Clemson from minute one. On their first shot attempt, senior Luis Argudo made a brilliant play on the right side of the post, feeding sophomore Ema Twumasi who opened up the scoring. Both Argudo and Twumasi have been playing well week in and week out this season.
After the scoring opportunity, the game settled down. Clemson started to defend better, while the Demon Deacons kept generating pressure on offense without successfully finding the goal.
Around the 30-minute mark, Clemson started to create some offensive plays. The ball possession became more balanced towards halftime. After a foul outside the left side of the post, Diego Campos successfully crossed to Robbie Robinson for a wide-open goal on the right side of the goalpost to tie the match for the Clemson Tigers. After the score, the Clemson found a new offensive rhythm and kept pressuring the Demon Deacons until the halftime whistle.
The first half was a battle of momentum. At first, the Demon Deacons established themselves as the superior team and imposed an offensive rhythm based on counter-attacks and crossed balls. After the Clemson goal, the Tigers took more initiative on the offensive side and seized the momentum as the Deacs struggled to gain back the edge. The stats also reflect that equilibrium, as both teams had a combined six shot attempts with an edge to the Tigers squad of 4-2 due to Clemson’s late surge during the first half.
Clemson started the second half by carrying over the momentum from the last 10 minutes of the first period. A couple of dead-ball situations scared the Wake Forest defense to start the half. However, after struggling with offense for the first minutes, the Wake Forest squad came back to the match with an outstanding shot from outside of the post by Twumasi to put the Demon Deacons ahead by a score of 2-1.
This was Twumasi’s seventh goal of the season, which tied him with Luis Argudo for the team lead. Similar to the first half, the score shifted the momentum of the game once again, as the Demon Deacons regained control of the ball possession. Yet, a few minutes after the sudden offensive surge by Wake Forest, Clemson brought back balance to the game as both teams showed glimpses of their offensive power.
With four minutes remaining in the game, freshman Andrew Pannenberg, who was replacing starting goalkeeper Mundet, made a miraculous save after a free kick to prevent the game-tying goal. Still, it was not enough to hold the lead.
A couple of plays later, Robbie Robinson scored from another free kick by Diego Campos to tie the game. Overtime felt right for this game, as both teams dominated the match for stretches throughout the nerve-racking clash between two top-10 teams.
In the first OT period, the Demon Deacons started the half well. Wake Forest generated some good offensive pressure but failed to capitalize on its opportunities. The game started to become dramatic as both squads started to feel the wear and tear of a full soccer match. Despite the heart-crushing ending of the regular time, the Wake Forest squad seemed more mentally ready for OT.
The second OT period started as electrifying as the first. The Demon Deacons kept pressuring the Clemson Tigers. After a corner kick, Wake Fores t took advantage of a defensive miscue from the Tigers and Steven Echevarria scored the game-winner from inside the post in an overtime thriller. The final score was 3-2 in favor of Wake Forest Demon Deacons.
It was the perfect ending for an instant-classic between two ACC powers in front of a crowd of 4781 people, a new record for attendance at Spry Stadium.
Wake Forest will now travel to Chapel Hill to face No. 4 North Carolina this Friday, Oct. 6 at 7:00 pm ET.