"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 draws against Notre Dame

The Demon Deacons end their regular season undefeated at home
Gabriel Herrera
Jahlane Forbes moves the ball upfield.

This past Friday, Spry Stadium hosted a clash between two giants of ACC men’s soccer as No. 3 Wake Forest (11-1-4, 4-1-2 ACC) and No. 6 Notre Dame (10-1-4, 5-0-2) drew 1-1.  

Both teams have been battling for dominance within the conference, with Wake Forest leading the Atlantic division and Notre Dame ahead in the Coastal division, which they clinched by avoiding a loss at Spry Stadium.

The stakes defined the match, as a draw could lock in the Fighting Irish to the NCAA Tournament — with a No. 2 seed — but not yet determine the Demon Deacons’ spot in the postseason. When Notre Dame tied the match in the final minutes, they were comfortable settling in on defense rather than seeking scoring opportunities as Wake Forest did. 

“We conceded with just a little bit over five minutes left when I thought we had the run of play in the second half,” Head Coach Bobby Muuss said. “We’re just disappointed. We’re disappointed for what could have been accomplished against a really good Notre Dame team.” 

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Going into the game, the Demon Deacons had been hot, having not lost a game since their draw with Syracuse on Sept. 16. However, both teams went into the game with a winning streak — Wake Forest with 10 to Notre Dame’s six — so needless to say, both sides of the stands were shivering in anticipation of the battle.

Leo Guarino, who scored Wake Forest’s lone goal, handles the ball. (Gabriel Herrera)

As the game clock counted down to game time, it turned out the shivering was not only in anticipation of the game. The stands were soaked. Luckily, experienced fans, shuffling in with warm coats and alternating Demon Deacon & Fighting Irish attire, brought towels to wipe down the stands. These same towel-bearing benefactors offered towels to students and younger fans to lighten the atmosphere for what would turn out to be a long game ahead. 

The first five minutes were difficult for Wake Forest, as the Fighting Irish pressed high on the home team’s half with two early shots. Following these opportunities, the Demon Deacons found some rhythm, holding firm on defense and mounting some dangerous attacks. 

After scoreless play for just under 80 minutes, the silence was broken in the 79th minute. Junior Babacar Niang threaded the ball into the middle to junior Leo Guarino, who rocketed the ball off the right post and into the net to put Wake Forest up 1-0. The players sprinted to the brick wall by the hill, climbing up to celebrate alongside the roaring crowd of fans. 

A free kick for Notre Dame right outside Wake Forest’s 18-yard box five minutes after Guarino’s goal allowed the visiting team to close the gap. The Fighting Irish’s Daniel Russo collected the ball following the kick and headed it into the net to tie the game. However, Russo’s celebration continued toward the Wake Forest bench, where he earned his second yellow card of the night for intentionally walking into Sydney Paris and starting a commotion between the teams.

For the final five minutes of the game, there was not a fan seated as Wake Forest had just under five minutes to capitalize on their player advantage. Despite three more shots for the Demon Deacons, Notre Dame’s defense held strong through the end of the match. 

Notre Dame secured their division title on Friday night. Wake Forest can do the same and clinch the Atlantic Division and rights to a top-two seed in the NCAA Tournament with a win on Friday, Oct. 27 at Louisville (9-4-2, 2-4-1). That match kicks off at 7 p.m.

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