WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – The fourth-ranked NC State men’s soccer team (4-1-0) endured its first defeat of the season on Friday evening, falling 3-0 at No. 1 Wake Forest in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both teams.
Omir Fernandez scored two of the three goals for the Demon Deacons (5-0-0) on Friday. He found the back of the net in the 24th and 69th minutes to lead the home side to a win. An own goal that came via an unfortunate deflection from a free kick in the 76th minute put the match out of reach. Wolfpack goalkeeper Leon Krapf made four saves throughout the course of the evening.
“You know that when you come to play Wake Forest on the road you are going to have your hands full,” NC State head coach George Kiefer said after the match. “They are an efficient team and I give them credit. They did a good job with the match tonight. I think we have some guys that I was very pleased with, but then some guys that I think will maybe have a better match next time.”
-The Wolfpack was without 2017 ACC Freshman of the Year Manny Perez due to his recent selection to the U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team.
-Friday’s match began at 7:45 pm after lightning in the area delayed the start.
-Wake Forest leads the series 27-12-5.
-Freshman Aidan Foster made his first career start in the match. Classmate Orlin Roque made his first career appearance.
The teams battled through a physical first half that featured 14 fouls. Wake Forest opened the scoring in the 24th minute when Logan Gdula played a cross through the six-yard box that found Omir Fernandez open at the far post for a tap-in. Brad Dunwell also assisted on the goal.
Krapf made two big stops later on in the half, tipping a hard Fernandez shot over the bar in the 29th minute and recording an impressive kick save on a Justin McMaster attempt in the 32nd minute.
Ivy Brisma got the Wolfpack off to a good start in the second half, recording a shot just wide of the far post in the 48th minute. All four of the Wolfpack’s shots came during the course of the second half.
“This result is tough, no question,” starting goalkeeper Leon Krapf said. “I think what is key now is that we don’t question everything. We need to stay positive, learn from it, and move on. We are trying to get this program to the standard we saw tonight. We want to get there, and on the way there, there will be obstacles. This was an obstacle, and we have to overcome it. The great thing about college soccer is that our next chance is coming up on Tuesday. We will analyze the game and learn from it, and on Tuesday we will be locked in and keep pushing this program forward.”
NC State returns to action at home on Tuesday, Sept. 11 when Quinnipiac comes to town. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 pm from Dail Soccer Stadium on campus with live video coverage provided by ACC Network Extra. This match will serve as Heroes Night, during which the Wolfpack will give out 200 free superhero-themed tee shirts and honor local heroes at halftime.
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