"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 stunned at home in tournament opener

Wake Forest’s season ends with second-round loss to unseeded Indiana
Evan Harris
Wake Forest players are overcome with emotion after losing 3-2 to the visiting Indiana during Sunday’s second round NCAA tournament match.

For the second season in a row, the Wake Forest Demon Deacons men’s soccer team (11-3-5, 4-1-3) crashed early in the NCAA Tournament, falling 3-2 in overtime to Big Ten Tournament champion Indiana Hoosiers (14-4-4, 4-2-2). The second-round matchup was Wake Forest’s first — and only — of the tournament.

For an early-round game, Sunday night was really a heavyweight matchup. Since 2015, the Demon Deacons (the No. 10 seed in the tournament) and the Hoosiers have led the nation in wins, with 140 and 132, respectively. The game was an intense, physical matchup, and Indiana used set-piece goals to eventually defeat Wake Forest. 

Midfielder Cooper Flax surveys the pitch looking to pass the ball. (Evan Harris)

Senior winger Jahlane Forbes opened the scoring in the 21st minute. After winning the ball with a slide tackle, sophomore Vlad Walent found senior Jake Swallen reversing the field. Swallen found the onrushing Forbes on the left side, who appeared to attempt a cross for Mitchell at the back post, but his cross took a wicked deflection and looped into the top left corner, establishing a 1-0 lead for the Demon Deacons. 

After halftime, Indiana’s corner kicks proved to be an issue for Wake Forest, starting in the 54th minute. A corner from the right side was played to the near post, where the tall Hoosier midfielder Hugo Bacharach flicked a header beyond junior goalkeeper Trace Alphin and into the far corner to equalize the score.

Story continues below advertisement

Before this goal, Wake Forest had countered the Indiana press by using their three most creative midfielders, Swallen, sophomore Cooper Flax and senior Hosei Kijima, to bypass pressure and switch momentum to the wings. The strategy strained Indiana’s classic 4-4-2 formation — two strong strikers, two physical central midfielders and two quick, wide midfielders working together to pressure the Wake Forest back line.

Striker Roald Mitchell tries to get past the Indiana defense. (Evan Harris)

With the score tied at one, the Demon Deacons began trying to find space behind long balls from beyond the back line. The switch led to the second Wake Forest goal of the night in the 67th minute. 

A long ball from the Wake Forest defense put junior Roald Mitchell through on goal, where he held off his defender and tried to dribble the ball beyond the keeper. However, Hoosier goalkeeper JT Harms tripped Mitchell as the latter was dribbling, and referee Sorin Stoica pointed to the spot for a penalty kick. Harms was also given a yellow card for the foul. 

Walent stepped up to take the kick, and he blasted the ball into the top left corner to give the Demon Deacons a 2-1 lead. The team celebrated by jumping into the students on the hill.

Vlad Walent scores on a penalty kick during the 67th minute. (Evan Harris)

The lead was short-lived, unfortunately. A free kick from the right was served in, and chaos ensued. After a couple of shot attempts were blocked, the ball deflected straight into Indiana forward Karsen Henderlong, and it fell into the back of the net for the equalizer.

Both teams came close to finding a winner in regulation, but it ended at 2-2, and overtime loomed. Under the new NCAA postseason soccer overtime rules, there are two, 10-minute periods of overtime, and if the score is still tied, then a penalty-kick shootout decides the winner. 

Indiana quickly found the go-ahead goal, scoring in the 94th minute. Garrison Tubbs was awarded a yellow card for stopping an attack, and the ensuing free kick was whipped into the center of the box. Bacharach again found space and flicked the ball into the bottom right corner with his heel to give his team a 3-2 lead.

This goal would ultimately decide the match, and the final whistle at the end of the second period of overtime concluded the Demon Deacons’ season. 


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 *