Wake mens soccer rolls over NC State

Wake men’s soccer rolls over NC State

DJ Khaled would have been the perfect voice to narrate the men’s soccer game at Spry last Saturday night. Another one! Wake Forest scores its second goal of the night. Another one! Make that three for the Deacs. Another one! That’s four now for Wake Forest. In a showcase of offensive firepower, the top ranked Wake Forest Men’s Soccer team dominated NC State in their ACC opener, winning by a score of 4-1. This was Wake Forest’s eighth straight victory in ACC openers.

It was the 46th meeting between the two state rivals, and Wake Forest leads the all-time series 29-11-5. The Deacs have been particularly successful at home in the series, with NC State’s last win in Winston-Salem dating back to the first year of the Clinton administration: 1993. 

Wake Forest dictated the terms of the game from the opening whistle, and ended up with 55% of possession; 58% of the game took place on the Louisville half of the field. Additionally, the Deacs held a 12-7 advantage on shots, a 6-3 advantage on shots on net and a 3-2 advantage on corners. 

The Deacs started the game off well and had a few quality opportunities early on. The best of these chances came a little over 20 minutes into the half when redshirt sophomore Jake Swallen lined up to take a free kick a few yards outside the corner of the 18-yard box. The well hit shot landed to the left of the goal post and the game remained scoreless. The start of the game was also quite scrappy. There were nine fouls in the first 20 minutes and 19 by the end of the first half. 

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Wake Forest finally broke through with 9:38 remaining in the half. Swallen passed the ball to junior Kyle Holcomb, who was a few yards out from the top of the 18-yard box. Holcomb then deftly took a couple of dribbles to cut through the NC State defenders around him, creating the space he needed to fire off a low and hard shot into the left corner of the net. The goal was Holcomb’s second of the season; the assist was Swallen’s first. 

The Deac’s defense dominated throughout most of the game, not allowing a shot until under five minutes left in the half. However, with just 1:46 remaining, the freshman defender Jahlane Forbes made a tackle at the very edge of the 18-yard box that gave NC State a penalty kick. AJ Seals took the PK for the Wolfpack, but redshirt junior goalie Andrew Pannenberg guessed correctly and kept the shot out of the net. The rebound was pounced on by NC State’s Alex Bautista who shot the ball past Pannenberg to even the score at one-a-piece. Despite playing at a significantly higher level throughout the first half, Wake Forest went into halftime tied.

The Deacs came out in the second half with their hair on fire, scoring in just 57 seconds. The dynamic duo of Holcomb and Swallen played off each other like Abbott and Costello, with the former picking up his second goal of the match and the latter his second assist. This time, Swallen was in the 18-yard box when he gave a quick pass to his left. Holcomb made a nice move and flicked the ball over the head of the goalkeeper into the right side netting of the goal. 

Wake Forest’s defense was again solid in the second half. Freshman defender Garrison Tubbs had an outstanding game, highlighted by an excellent play with little over 35 minutes remaining in the half. As NC State had a wide open net, Tubbs stepped in front of the shot and deflected it out of bounds to maintain the Demon Deacons lead. 

Wake Forest’s last two goals came within 40 seconds of each other. The first, scored by senior Machop Chol, came in the 70th minute of play. Wake Forest built possession out of the back and advanced into NC State’s defensive third where junior Isaiah Parente passed to sophomore Omar Hernandez at the top of the box. Hernandez in turn led Chol towards the net with a pass, and Chol nutmegged the keeper to make it 3-1. 

Forty seconds later, Wake Forest scored its fourth and final goal of the evening. Sophomore Calvin Harris — who was named ACC co-offensive player of the week for his performance last week against Louisville — was making a run near the NC State goal and crossed the ball across the box to sophomore David Wrona, who shot it to the right of the goalie, notching his first goal of the season. 

Wake Forest controlled the last 20 minutes of the game and handily won 4-1. The Deacs’ next game is a non conference matchup against UAB on Oct. 10 at Spry Stadium.  

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