Florida State tops Wake Forest 1-0 in semifinals

Despite the loss, women’s soccer returns to the ACC Tournament for the first time since 2018


Graduate forward Jenna Menta dribbles down the field with the ball. She scored Wake Forest’s sole goal of the game in the 31st minute.

Christina Denovio, Sports Editor

A stellar season for the Wake Forest women’s soccer team ended in heartbreak. On Nov. 5, the No. 25 Demon Deacons (15-5) fell to No. 2 Florida State (15-1-2) in overtime.

The teams kicked off the ACC semifinals match at WakeMed Soccer Park to determine who would face off against the winner of No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 5 Clemson. In that final matchup, which took place on Nov. 7, Florida State defeated Virginia by a score of 1-0.

Though Wake Forest didn’t make it to the finals, the team had an impressive season under Coach Tony da Luz. It was da Luz’s 25th season as head coach, and he now holds a cumulative record of 283-185-53. The team was also coming off an impressive upset over No. 2 Duke in the first round of the ACC tournament.

During the game against the Seminoles, Wake Forest’s redshirt senior Sofia Rossi scored the first goal, assisted by graduate student Jenna Menta, in the 31st minute. This was Rossi’s eighth goal of the season.

Unfortunately for the Deacs, Florida State responded with a goal of their own six minutes later. Wake Forest was unable to capitalize on several opportunities in the first half, totaling three shots on frame.

In the second half, neither team was able to score, but the Seminoles were creating more opportunities, outshooting the Deacs 6-2. As time ran out, the scoreline remained 1-1, leading Wake Forest to their third overtime of the season. Seven minutes into OT, Florida State scored, sealing their path to the finals.

Wake Forest, went home disappointed, having exited the ACC tournament sooner than they would’ve liked.

At the game, two Demon Deacons received ACC honors. Senior Shayla Smart earned Third Team All-ACC honors, and freshman Nikayla Small was named to the ACC All-Freshman Team.

“Congrats to Florida State,” da Luz said. “Even though they played a great game, I thought our team played an awesome game. Tactically, both teams were trying to get an edge here and there with whatever they could.”

Da Luz continued: “I thought we got some good chances as we were organized pressing-wise. If you don’t press well against Florida State, you will suffer. I think we played that team as well as they have been played all year. It is a shame we couldn’t get to penalties and solve it that way. We had our chances, and I am very proud of this team and the performances we have had down the stretch.”

“I am looking forward to [potentially making] the NCAA tournament because if we perform like this consistently we are probably going to win some games,” da Luz also said.

This week, the Wake Forest women’s soccer team is ranked at an impressive No. 25 in the latest United Soccer Coaches poll for the first time since Sept. 5, 2019.

On Monday, it was announced that the Deacs would in fact have a spot in the NCAA Tournament. With their selection, the Deacs will face Harvard on Sunday.