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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

Men’s soccer draws, then dominates in last weekend before ACC play

Roald Mitchell delivers a hat trick against Furman following the team’s draw with No. 20 Maryland
Evan Harris
Roald Mitchell races for the ball against Furman. The junior forward notched a hat trick in the game.

The No. 9 Wake Forest men’s soccer team (2-0-2, 0-0-0) took on a hefty challenge this past Friday, drawing 0-0 in a standoff against No. 20 University of Maryland (1-1-1, 0-0-0). Both squads struggled to generate prime scoring opportunities throughout the match as each team battled continuously. 

The initial shot of the match was off target, coming off the foot of a Maryland player in the 21st minute. Though they managed to break the ice with the first attempt at goal, the Terrapins awarded the Demon Deacons a set piece shortly after. However, the attempt was thumped by the Maryland wall. Wake Forest’s next scoring opportunity came at the 29-minute mark on the foot of junior Roald Mitchell, when he received a cross and just missed the goal. 

At the halfway point, the Demon Deacons had a shot advantage, but the match remained a stalemate between two skilled squads. Both teams continued to struggle to put the ball in the back of the net up until the 72-minute mark when Maryland earned a penalty kick. 

When it looked like the tie was just about to be broken, goalkeeper Trace Alphin stood tall on his line and successfully stopped the strike that was headed for the bottom right of the net. Alphin came up big in the 88th minute as well with another save to keep the game scoreless. He ended the game with three saves, highlighted by his monster stop on the penalty. The North Carolina local was just awarded ACC Defensive Player of the Week, as well, the second time he has earned the title in his career. 

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After earning a draw through a solid performance against a powerhouse team in the Terrapins, the Demon Deacons looked ahead. The team went back to its winning ways on Monday by taking care of Furman (1-2-0, 0-0-0) with a 5-1 victory, including four second-half goals and a hat trick from Mitchell. The Demon Deacons’ first goal of the night came off the foot of Mitchell on a penalty kick. The Paladins answered back with a goal of their own at the 36-minute mark, tying the game 1-1. 

Wake Forest had a dominant first half with a significant shot advantage; however, the game stood stubbornly knotted 1-1 going into the break. The second half featured more Demon Deacon dominance, and the game score started to reflect that dominance. Mitchell got his second goal of the night in the 54th minute after capitalizing on a rebound opportunity caused by an initial shot from Niang. Mitchell earned his hat trick, the second of his career, in the 70th minute after successfully potting another penalty kick. 

With the score at 3-1, Wake Forest kept its foot on the gas. Senior defender Jahlane Forbes added a tally to make it 4-1 as a result of a fantastic through-ball into the box by freshman Liam O’Gara. For good measure, junior forward Leo Guarino added another goal in the 89th minute, finishing the match with an offensive show and cementing the 5-1 final score. 

Following a big win, Wake Forest will focus on its ACC opener in a significant matchup ahead as they face off against No. 8-ranked University of Pittsburgh. The game is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 9 at 7 p.m. in Pittsburgh, Pa. 

Correction Sept. 6, 2023: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the men’s soccer team’s record and ranking. The article now contains the correct information.

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