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

Old Gold & Black

"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

Women’s soccer falls from rankings after road trip

Wake Forest ties 2-2 with Syracuse, loses 4-1 to Pittsburgh
Cooper Sullivan
Wake Forest women’s soccer sits at 8-2-3 (2-2-2) on the season.

Wake Forest draws with Syracuse

Then-No. 17, now unranked Wake Forest women’s soccer squad escaped an early deficit to end Thursday, Oct. 5’s match with the Orange in a tie.

It was a concerning night of play for the Demon Deacons, who despite taking 29 total shots, including 14 on goal, were only able to score twice, both times coming in the second half. On defense, Wake Forest wasn’t able to record a single save despite Syracuse only taking two shots on goal the entire match.

During the first half, Wake Forest didn’t make any of their six shots, but the Orange were able to score goals on both of their two shots on goal. The Demon Deacons would be unable to answer with a goal of their own until the 56th minute. 

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Likely a factor in Wake Forest’s lackluster performance was limited play from star sophomore Caiya Hanks. The conference standout only played 36 minutes on Thursday night. Hanks averages three shots per game and has the third-most goals (6) in the ACC this season. Of Wake Forest’s 29 total recorded shots on Thursday, Hanks was only responsible for one.

The two scoring Demon Deacons of the night were sophomore Hannah Jonhson and junior Anna Swanson, each of whom recorded their second goal of the season. Johnson’s goal with just 15 minutes of play remaining knotted up the score. The Wake Forest defense didn’t allow a single shot from Syracuse in the second half, and in those final 15 minutes after Johnson’s goal, put up six more scoreless shots on the Orange.

While the second half of play consisted of a more high-powered offense and lockdown defense that looked more characteristic of Wake Forest, this was not a typical or acceptable performance. A lack of offense from Syracuse was to be expected, given that the team ranks 11th in the ACC for total goals scored. Syracuse has also allowed the most goals to be scored on them than any other team in the conference, a figure that Wake Forest should have been able to capitalize on as it took 29 total shots with fourteen of them being on goal.

Despite their abysmal offensive performance, Syracuse’s goaltending kept them in the game, even despite a high volume of shots from Wake Forest. Syracuse saved two of the Demon Deacons’ 14 shots on goal in this match. The Orange rank first in the ACC in total saves this season.

Wake Forest falls to Pittsburgh

Wake Forest women’s soccer (8-2-3, 2-2-2) lost the final match of its three-game road trip, 4-1, against the University of Pittsburgh (11-2-1, 4-1-1) on Sunday

The loss to Pitt is just the Demon Deacons’ second of the season and their first since Sept. 15, when they barely escaped being shut out by Notre Dame in the last five minutes of play. For Pitt, Sunday marked the Panthers’ largest win since shutting out NC State in mid-September. Pitt improved to 2-1-1 against ranked opponents. With the win, Pitt takes over the No. 17 ranking in the United Soccer Coaches Poll, a spot previously held by the Demon Deacons. Wake Forest is now unranked.

Despite the final score, Pitt’s victory wasn’t certain until late in the second half. Pitt did control most of the first half, putting up eight shots, including six on goal compared to Wake Forest’s two. Neither team scored until the 29th minute, when Pitt scored on a cross-field pass into the goalie box that drew Wake Forest goalie Madison Howard out of being able to save it. That goal would go unanswered until Wake Forest’s Emily Murphy scored in the 57th minute in an impressive one-on-one foot race with a Pitt defender. The score was Murphy’s fifth goal of the season, making her second on the team for goals scored.

In the 65th minute, Pitt quickly responded with another goal to go up 2-1, proceeding on to unleash a flurry of shots. Wake Forest was able to remain hopeful until less than ten minutes of play remained and Pitt scored back-to-back goals to seal their victory.

The loss wasn’t a complete failure by the Wake Forest defense. Howard, who leads the team in saves, was able to make a career-high eight saves on 12 shots on goal. The Demon Deacons also fended off Pitt from scoring more points during a six-shot charge just after taking the lead.

Wake Forest remains undefeated at home, but their biggest challenge of the season so far arrives in Spry Stadium this Friday in the form of No. 3 North Carolina (9-0-5, 4-0-2). The Tar Heels come to Winston-Salem after just being unseated from the top ranking in women’s collegiate soccer, a spot that it had held since almost mid-September. The Tar Heels remain undefeated on the season but have tied three times on the road, including twice with conference opponents. Even forcing a tie with a highly-ranked opponent could be enough to send Wake Forest back into the national rankings.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

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About the Contributor
Andrew Braun
Andrew Braun, Sports Editor
Andrew is a freshman from Wrightsville Beach, N.C. intending to major in politics and international affairs and minor in journalism. Outside of the OGB, he is a member of a capella group Innuendo and Model United Nations. In his free time, you can find him playing bass and guitar, watching only the most obscure NBA matchups and paddle surfing at the beach.

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