"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

Men’s soccer extinguishes the Flames

Demon Deacons score three goals, gain three points against Liberty
Isabella Parolini
Senior Jahlane Forbes extends to steal the ball from Liberty.

A physical match between the No. 14 Demon Deacons (4-1-3, 0-1-1 ACC) and the Liberty Flames (5-2, 0-0) on Tuesday night at Spry Stadium resulted in a 3-1 victory for the home squad. With Wake Forest players draped in green jerseys to raise awareness for those with mental health struggles, the clashes with Liberty’s red kits brought color to the contest’s action.

Officials dished out four yellow cards during the game, with the home team receiving one and the Flame three. One of Liberty’s warnings came after their forward, Lucas Kelly, got involved in a scuffle with several Demon Deacons.

Just before the second-half scuffle, the teams exchanged scores over a span of six minutes. Down 2-0 with just four shots — compared to Wake Forest’s 10 in the first half — Liberty took advantage of a corner kick in the 53rd minute, and Kelly headed in their first goal of the match. The Demon Deacons responded when sophomore Vlad Walent floated the ball over a cluttered 18-yard box for Sidney Paris. The junior allowed himself one touch with his chest before chipping the ball off of the goalkeeper and into the netting. 

The scoreboard read 3-1 for Liberty’s kickoff, and less than a minute later, the video monitor displayed players from both teams shouting and shoving on the far sideline. The crowd, which had a sizable Liberty contingent, became animated at the sight, especially after Kelly received his team’s third yellow card of the game.

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Both teams embraced the physicality of the game, but Liberty (23 fouls to Wake Forest’s seven) brought a style of defense that was particularly energetic. The Flames’ Leo Conneh and Gabe Findley challenged every buildup Wake Forest mustered, no matter the direction in which the ball was moving.

Liberty moved the same on offense, which was all breakaways. On one counterattack, they would have earned another goal if Jahlane Forbes hadn’t caught up to the Flame in a race down the field that brought spectators to their feet. While the defender managed to interrupt a potentially lethal cross, both Forbes and the Liberty player went down on the play. Forbes did not return but walked off on his own power, however, not before he waited for a trainer to help his opponent off of the field, an act of sportsmanship despite the intensity of the game. 

The Demon Deacons struggled to cross the field with the pressure on their fullbacks for the first 10 minutes, but junior Roald Mitchell took advantage of the eager defense twice in the first half. 

Sophomore Cooper Flax attempts a shot on the goal. (Isabella Parolini)

In the 13th minute, senior Colin Thomas fought off two defenders at the right side of the six-yard box to turn and skip the ball across to sophomore Cooper Flax, who had his shot repelled by a defender. The ball flew at junior Roald Mitchell, who volleyed it straight into the right side of the goal for Wake Forest’s first score.

Mitchell secured his brace and his seventh goal of the season in the 28th minute. Redshirt junior Cristian Escribano gave the Flames’ left flank a change of pace and beat them to the attacking third. He slipped the ball forward to Mitchell, whose dribbling split one pair of defenders and whose low shot split another pair to land in the right corner of the goal. 

The scoring opportunities on which Wake Forest capitalized came in large waves. The Demon Deacons outshot Liberty 16-11, and 10 of those shots came in the first half. Wake Forest’s control of possession came down to ruling the pace of the midfield, where freshman Liam O’Gara often settled the offense before buildups. Senior Hosei Kijima took the lead from there with crosses that accelerated the Demon Deacons’ attacks. 

In the last 20 minutes, Wake Forest chose to settle defensively and sit on their two-score lead. Junior goalkeeper Trace Alpin totaled four saves, with two diving plays in that home stretch. He pinned the last shot of the game with just 20 seconds remaining.

With the Demon Deacons having defeated the leader of the Ohio Valley Conference, they now look ahead to Clemson (5-2-1, 1-0 ACC). Wake Forest will host its conference rival at home on Friday, Sept. 22  at 6 p.m.

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About the Contributor
Aaron Nataline
Aaron Nataline, Sports Editor
Aaron Nataline is a junior from Cranford, NJ majoring in Psychology with a minor in journalism. He spends most of his time dominating the paint at the basketball courts or shamelessly watching reality TV shows.

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