AKRON, Ohio – Going on the road to take on its third top 25 opponent on Tuesday night, the eighth-ranked Wake Forest men’s soccer team took down No. 6 Akron 2-1 at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field.
The Demon Deacons improved to 7-1 on the season with the victory, including a 2-0 mark away from Spry Stadium. Akron, playing its fifth nationally-ranked opponents in seven games, fell to 4-2-1 with the loss.
Michael Gamble notched the game-winning goal for the Deacs in the 51st minute on a penalty kick goal after Akron was whistled for a hand ball in the box. Gamble has now scored six goals in eight games this year for the Demon Deacons. He scored six times all of last year in 15 games and is now just two goals off his career-high of eight, which was set back in 2012 as a freshman.
The Demon Deacons got on the board first in the first half when Jon Bakero tallied his third goal of the season in the 21st minute. Bakero’s goal was set up by Kris Reaves and Jack Harrison. Harrison found Reaves at the top of the penalty area and Reaves found Bakero on the right side of the penalty spot, similar to his placement when he scored the game-tying goal on Saturday in the ACC home-opener against Syracuse, a 3-1 win for the Deacs. Like Saturday, Bakero placed his shot in the left corner of goal past a diving goalkeeper.
Akron’s lone goal came in the 30th minute off the foot of Richie Laryea. With the ball at his feet in the box, he beat Wake Forest’s back line and his shot trickled through Demon Deacons’ goalkeeper Alec Ferrell to tie the game at 1-1.
With less than 10 minutes to play, Ferrell came up with the save of the game to keep the Wake Forest lead intact. On a corner kick from the left side, Akron got a head on the kick at point-blank range and Ferrell’s quick reaction allowed him to punch the ball ticketed for goal over the bar. Overall, Ferrell finished with a season-high seven saves in the contest.
The Demon Deacons came out of the gate with a lot of pressure on the Zips’ goal and never backed off. In the end, Wake Forest outshot Akron 18-14. The final margin comes after Wake Forest had an 11-3 shot advantage in the first half.
Wake Forest returns to Atlantic Coast Conference action on Saturday night for another stiff test when it hosts No. 5 Clemson. The Tigers will be playing on five day’s rest after last playing Sunday night in a 3-1 victory over Brown. The break marks the third-straight team the Demon Deacons will play that has had at least a five-day rest period prior to the match against Wake Forest.
Saturday’s game also marks the first chance at win No. 100 all-time in ACC play. The Deacs picked up win No. 99 last Saturday against Syracuse. The Demon Deacons all-time are 99-104-32 in ACC action.