"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

'Covers the campus like the magnolias'
"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

For men’s soccer, you win some, you draw some

The Demon Deacons beat GCU and draw against Cal
Isabella Parolini
Junior Leo Guarino bracing for the ball in the box against Cal.

The Wake Forest men’s soccer team began the 2023 season with a 3-1 win over Grand Canyon University on Aug. 24 and a 1-1 draw with the University of California on Aug. 27. The first two official matches looked to be good tests early on for the No. 18-ranked Demon Deacons, as conference play approaches in the coming weeks.

From the first whistle against Grand Canyon, Wake Forest dominated. Despite a clear high press from the Lopes, the Demon Deacons were able to play through it to create chances.

However, Grand Canyon scored first in the 11th minute after a free kick from the left was whipped to the far post and punched out by goalkeeper Trace Alphin. The Lopes maintained possession near the corner flag, and the attacker snuck a cross past Wake Forest captains Hosei Kijima and Garrison Tubbs to the near post, where another Lope flicked it into the net.

It didn’t take the Demon Deacons long to respond, as just one minute later, Roald Mitchell got his first goal of the year. Junior winger Sidney Paris picked up the ball on the left side and dribbled into the middle. He then looked to the feet of Mitchell, who dropped in to drag a defender with him. Mitchell then let the ball run past him and immediately turned to run into the space left by his trailing defender. Kijima passed to Mitchell, who slid in and found the bottom-left corner for Wake Forest’s first official goal of the year.

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From then on, the Demon Deacons ramped up the pressure, piling on shots and chances. Midfielder Baba Niang became a focal point for many of the Demon Deacons’ attacks, and he found himself on the scoresheet in the 27th minute to give Wake Forest the lead. 

The halftime whistle ended a dominant half for the Demon Deacons, which saw them hold a clear possession advantage and a 17-4 shot advantage as well.

The second half started slower for the Demon Deacons. The Lopes responded by intensifying their pressure, which led to yellow cards for both fullbacks, senior Jahlane Forbes and junior Bo Cummins, when they tried to stop GCU attacks. 

Despite the momentum shift, Wake Forest would find the game’s next goal via a Sidney Paris penalty kick. Midfielder and Boston College transfer Camilo Ponce made an excellent move to win a penalty on the right side of the box, and Paris beat the goalkeeper to the bottom-left corner from the spot.

The Demon Deacons saw out the game from there, not taking many risks, and earned a 3-1 victory in the opening match. Attention then turned to Sunday, when the University of California Golden Bears came to town.


The Golden Bears set the tone of the game from the outset, committing three fouls in the first two minutes, including one in the first 10 seconds of the match. Despite the physical pressure, Wake Forest got off to an excellent start, with Niang opening the scoring in the fourth minute. 

Wake Forest controlled the opening part of the game and came close to getting a second through chances by Tubbs and Cummins

California eventually found their way back into the game. They increased pressure in the midfield, and the Demon Deacons struggled to find space and passing outlets to their wide players. 

The Golden Bears found the equalizer just before halftime from a set piece. California served in a great ball from the right wing on a free kick to the back post, and defender Kevin Carmichael placed a good header low and past Alphin to make it 1-1. The goal had been coming, as the Golden Bears dominated the ending period of the first half.

The Demon Deacons came back in the second half, but again, they struggled to create good sequences of buildup play. California came the closest to taking the lead in the 56th minute with a ball over the top finding. Paris rushed over to the goal and cleared the shot off the line at the last second to keep the score level. 

Chances were sparse for both teams after this, and the final whistle confirmed the result as a draw, in a tightly contested match.

Now ranked No. 14 in the nation, the Demon Deacons travel up to Maryland to face the No. 20-ranked Terrapins on Friday, Sept. 1 for their first top-25 ranked matchup of the season.

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