After postponing the game due to Florence, the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (2-4) and William & Mary Tribe (3-2) finally faced off under sunny skies in what was a back-and-forth contest on Wednesday … for about two minutes.
The Demon Deacons burst out of the gate, scoring early and often, keeping their foot on the gas and never looking back en route to 4-1 victory over the Tribe.
Wake Forest opened the scoring on a penalty corner with a rocket off the stick of defender Anne Van Hoof just two and a half minutes into the game, and Van Hoof followed up less than two minutes later on another penalty corner with a weak, looping shot that froze the goalie and bounced into the net.
“I can either defend goals, or I can score them, so that is great,” Van Hoof said, laughing. “You cannot do better than both, right?”
Not only did the Demon Deacons find the net twice in the first half, they also dominated possession. The ball stayed on Wake Forest’s offensive half for most of the first period, and the Demon Deacons consistently made incisive passes and created offensive openings in transition.
In the second half, the Demon Deacons again perfectly executed a penalty corner for their third goal off the game, when Megan Anderson found the back of the net with a hip-height shot that easily beat Tribe goalkeeper Kimi Jones.
“I think that is one of our fortes this season,” said Head Coach Jen Averill, about her team’s penalty corners. “We have really quality players around the circle edge and veteran players, and quite honestly, this season, I am letting them call [penalty corner plays]. You have to love kids who say, ‘If I score, great, and if I don’t, I’ll own it.’”
Midfielder Elisha Evans delivered Wake Forest’s flashiest goal of the game when she received a pass in an awkward position at the top of the circle edge from veteran midfielder Laia Vancells. Evans collected herself and fired a backhanded shot across her body that sneaked into the top corner, just below the crossbar, to give the Demon Deacons a 4-0 lead.
The Tribe adjusted at halftime, and in the second period, managed to maintain more possession, find their shape and force Wake Forest back into its defensive half. Their offensive pressure eventually resulted in a goal from Tribe midfielder Christie van de Kamp, who slapped the ball in from close range after it trickled away from a scrum of players.
“We gave up two pretty quick goals, and we knew the corner options, but knowing them and stopping them are two very different things,” said Tess Ellis, William & Mary’s head coach. “We were always used to beating the so-called big teams by coming from behind and sneaking a win, so it’s just about changing the culture of the team and knowing that we can lead and go for it.”
Wake Forest can now look ahead to a pivotal ACC matchup against the No. 7 Louisville Cardinals, who will travel to Kentner Stadium on Friday, Sept. 23. The Demon Deacons opened ACC play with a loss against No. 13 Boston College, who came from behind for a 4-3 victory over Wake Forest in double overtime.
Their decisive victory over the Tribe could galvanize the Demon Deacons into flirting with an upset and a bounce-back conference victory when Louisville comes to town.