Brian Westerholt/Sports on Film
Brian Westerholt/Sports on Film

Wake Forest takes down Pittsburgh at home

The Wake Forest men’s soccer team picked up two solid wins this past week over High Point and Pittsburgh, solidifying their No. 4 national ranking and moving to a 7-0-1 record on the year.

On Saturday, Sept. 16, Wake Forest celebrated homecoming against the Pittsburgh Panthers, their second ACC match of the season.

Prior to kick-off, a ceremony was held honoring the 2007 Wake Forest men’s soccer team, who defeated Ohio State 2-1 in the National Championship game a decade ago.

Along with members of the 2007 team, former Wake Forest head coach Jay Vidovich was honored in the pregame ceremony. Vidovich won over 270 matches in his 21 years as the head coach of Wake Forest’s men’s soccer team, including the 2007 National Championship.

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The first half of Wake Forest’s home matchup against Pittsburgh was scoreless, as both teams struggled to convert in the final third of the pitch.

Wake Forest dominated the final shot count, 21-3, but was unable to put a number on the scoreboard until the 64th minute, when senior Steven Echevarria tallied his first goal of the year via a header off of freshman Brandon Servania’s corner kick.

Sophomore forward Ema Twumasi provided insurance in the 85th minute with an assist from senior Jon Bakero, marking Twumasi’s fourth goal of the season and Bakero’s seventh assist.

On Tuesday, Sept. 19, Wake Forest took on High Point at Spry Stadium. a foe that, on paper, represented a sharp drop in quality from the average ACC opponent.

Despite High Point’s status as a team in the Big South Conference, they took the Demon Deacons to double overtime, with Wake Forest only prevailing thanks to a goal in the 104th minute  from Bakero, who notched his 11th career game-winning goal and fifth of the 2017 season.

The goal was assisted by freshman forward Justin McMaster, who Demon Deacon head coach Bobby Muuss highlighted in his post-game interview.

“Justin McMaster came on right at the end of first overtime and gave us energy and continued that into the second,” Muuss said. “He found a knockdown at midfield and went on a bit of a run, he used his freshness and athleticism, gets to the endline. I think three guys could have finished it but he picked out Jon. Great ball and great finish. When it wasn’t our night in front of goal, we got the goal when we needed it, so we’re extremely happy.”

“We found a way to win,” Muuss said. “We say that we don’t win or lose — we learn. It’s a little bit easier to learn after wins — you feel a little bit better about yourself. We’ll definitely learn from this experience.”

Wake Forest will take on ACC rival N.C. State on Saturday, Sept. 23, on the ACC Network Extra.

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