CHARLESTON, S.C. – After a full 110 minutes, the Wake Forest men’s soccer team finished off a scoreless draw in a nationally-televised match with the College of Charleston on Tuesday, October 11 at Patriot’s Point.
Fox Soccer Channel was on hand to broadcast the match as its College Game of the Week, presented by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, and audiences were treated to a match full of attacking – the two sides combined for 30 shots, with the Demon Deacons firing off 17 total attempts – just no scores.
“Our program has grown a lot through exposure on Fox Soccer and it was tremendous to be back on there tonight. It always adds an extra dimension to the game, a level of excitement,” head coach Jay Vidovich said of the Deacs’ first national television appearance since 2009. “It’s a professional environment where all your mistakes are called out and all your successes are called out, so it creates a better proving ground for our guys and hopefully another opportunity for them to grow.”
Five minutes in, Sam Fink proved to be the hero on the end line, spinning and diving simultaneously to clear a dribbler that nearly crossed in for an early Cougar score. That play would ultimately turn out to be the difference in the match, as Wake put eight shots on frame and all were saved by the Cougar’s sophomore keeper, Kees Heemskerk.
Entering the night’s second overtime, the Deacs had an excellent opportunity in the 104th minute after freshman forward Sean Okoli laid a ball back to freshman midfielder Teddy Mullin in the box, but the attempt was pushed wide by mere inches.
The shot started a flurry of restarts by the Deacs, including three corners and another rocket by Mullin. The Cougars finally managed to clear the ball, however, and the match came to a close with a nice save by Lisch and no further attacking from Wake.
Sophomore forward Luca Gimenez led the Deacs with five shots on the night, including four on frame, and was announced as the KFC Player of the Game during the closing minutes of regulation.
“It’s obviously pretty cool to be named player of the game, but I wish I could have sustained what I did in the first half a little better,” said Gimenez, who had three of his five attempts before the break. “I think we all stepped up defensively and helped each other out. One of our goals was to come in here and keep a shutout, and we accomplished that.”
Mullin and junior midfielder Ben Newnam also sent two shots on goal for the Deacs, who had a season-high 10 different players take a shot. Lisch finished the night with four saves in his fourth shutout effort of the season. WFU is now 5-5-2 and remains 2-3 in the ACC with the result.
“I thought we had enough opportunities in the first half to make it a little easier on ourselves, and I thought we had opportunities to cave in the second half, and we didn’t,” Vidovich said. “The guys stayed strong and, right into the final overtime, I felt confident we could find a goal. I think we’re learning how to play on the road as well, and to stay stronger mentally. We just need to find the back of the net.”
After returning to Winston-Salem early Wednesday morning, Wake will have to turn things around quickly and prepare for another tough conference matchup on Friday, Oct. 14 at home with Virginia. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. at Spry Stadium.