"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 falls in ACC Quarterfinals

Demon Deacons lose 1-0 despite shot advantage
Evan Harris
Senior Garrison Tubbs lands a header off of a corner kick in the first half.

The No. 6-ranked and tournament-seeded No. 2 Wake Forest Demon Deacons men’s soccer team (11-2-5, 4-1-3) suffered a 1-0 defeat at the hands of the No. 13-ranked, and No. 7-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels (9-3-5, 2-3-3) in a Big Four ACC Tournament Quarterfinal match. The defeat eliminates the Demon Deacons from the ACC Tournament, and now, only the NCAA tournament remains for the season.

Spry Stadium was packed to the brim for the sunny, 4 p.m. kickoff on Sunday, and anticipation was in the air for the upcoming Big Four rivalry match. Both the hill and the bleachers were filled with rowdy Wake Forest fans. 

The Tar Heels kicked off the game, attacking toward the hill. However, it was the Demon Deacons who controlled the possession early on with a slow tempo. North Carolina responded by packing in the middle, forcing the Demon Deacons to pass the ball around the back and down the wings instead of playing through the Hosei Kijima-led midfield, which is how the Demon Deacons prefer to play. The first shot came for Wake Forest in the sixth minute by sophomore winger Vlad Walent, but it was instantly blocked.

Throughout the first 15 minutes, both sides defended well. The Tar Heels did an excellent job isolating the Wake Forest attackers, particularly top scorer Roald Mitchell. The couple of chances the Demon Deacons got came through smart bits of one-touch passing near the box and crosses near the end line by defender-turned-winger Jahlane Forbes. The Tar Heels, however, had swarmed the ball well when the Demon Deacons attempted to get a shot away. 

Story continues below advertisement

North Carolina would open the scoring in the 16th minute on their first shot of the match. After a poor giveaway in the midfield, the ball found its way to Tar Heels attacker Ahmad Al-Qaq. The forward cut onto his right foot at the edge of the box and curled a well-placed shot into the top right corner, giving goalkeeper Trace Alphin no chance at a save. The goal silenced the crowd as the Tar Heels took a 1-0 advantage.

The goal energized the Tar Heels, as they created another couple of chances following the goal. They stepped up the intensity, forcing Wake Forest into multiple sloppy, uncharacteristic turnovers. The first half ended with a tame header from senior winger Chase Oliver that was claimed by Tar Heels goalkeeper Andrew Cordes. The Demon Deacons held a 5-4 shot advantage in the first half, but the Tar Heels held the goal advantage. 

Senior Hosei Kijima weaves through the Tar Heel defense. Kijima recorded two shots on goal during the ACC Tournament Quarterfinal match. (Evan Harris)

Perhaps the best Wake Forest chance of the match came in the 58th minute off of a corner. This time, it was Jahlane Forbes who swung in the corner with his left foot. Captain Garrison Tubbs found himself in acres of space near the 6-yard box, but somehow he steered his header wide right. The experienced leader should have buried the ball, but the opportunity seemed to inject more life and energy back into the crowd and the team.

 North Carolina employed many time-draining tactics, as is typical of a winning team on the road, including hard, tactical fouls. One such foul came in the 59th minute, as Tar Heel defender Ernest Bawa forcefully tripped winger Sidney Paris as he attempted to break on a counter attack. Wake Forest defender Prince Amponsah was upset with the tackle and confronted the North Carolina defender in the aftermath of the tackle. Both players were shown yellow cards for the incident.

As time slowly trickled down for the Demon Deacons, North Carolina sank deeper and deeper in their own half to preserve the lead, employing the infamous “park the bus” tactic to prevent Wake Forest from getting chances close to the goal. At most times, the only player left in the Wake Forest defensive half was goalkeeper Alphin. Wake Forest Head Coach Bobby Muuss responded to this by putting on all three strikers — Roald Mitchell, Leo Guarino and Julian Kennedy — for the closing minutes of the match, as well as throwing defender Garrison Tubbs up top to try and win headers in the box.

The Demon Deacons were able to create a few more chances, mostly from set pieces. Unfortunately, none of them were able to amount to any clear chances. Wake Forest had one more chance off a corner in the 90th minute, but North Carolina cleared, and eventually the ball landed in their goalkeeper’s hands. He punted the ball away as the final whistle fell, ending the Demon Deacons’ ACC Tournament run early.

Despite outshooting North Carolina 11-5 and 6-1 in the second half, as well as taking eight corners to North Carolina’s one, the Tar Heels came out on top. Wake Forest will now turn their attention to the NCAA Tournament, and will find out their path to the finals as the bracket is released next Monday, Nov 13.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Old Gold & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *