No. 24 Deacs Come from Behind to Beat No. 17 VCU 2-1
Sept. 24, 2013
By Steven Wright, Wake Forest Athletic Communications (@WakeMSoccer)
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Down a man and trailing 1-0 in the first half, No. 24 Wake Forest used goals from defenders Tolani Ibikunle and Sam Fink to come from behind and defeat No. 17 VCU on Tuesday night at Spry Stadium.
VCU (3-3-1) went on top in the 19th minute when Dakota Barnathan headed home a rebound from his own initial shot. Just over four minutes later, Wake Forest forward Sean Okoli was issued a red card, forcing the Demon Deacons to play with just 10 men the rest of the way.
Facing adversity, the Deacs responded and outshot the Rams 20-8 over the final 67 minutes of the game down a man. Ibikunle was able to score the equalizer in the 36th minute on a pass from Andy Lubahn, and Fink put Wake Forest on top after halftime in the 54th minute.
"I'm very proud. I'm happy for (the players), also. I think they're starting to realize they can be a quality team," said head coach Jay Vidovich. "This evening, I think they found that they're winners, so that's the bottom line for me."
The goals for Ibikunle and Fink were the first of the season for each player. Lubahn now has four assists and a team-high 10 points, while Jared Watts picked up an assist as well and now has three on the season.
After the red card, the Demon Deacons were able to rattle off four shots before Ibikunle tied the score. Lubahn played the ball from the right side of the field to Ibikunle, who took a couple touches and beat VCU keeper Andrew Wells to the low left corner from about 22 yards out. Neither team took a shot the rest of the half, but Wake Forest was able to go into the locker tied 1-1.
The Deacs were again the aggressors to begin the second half, outshooting VCU 5-1 before Fink put Wake Forest on top.
Luca Gimenez took a corner kick at 53:04, and Lubahn's initial shot off the service was blocked and ricocheted out of the box. Ian Harkes collected the ball on the right side and played a beautiful pass into Watts whose header went off the right post. The ball bounced directly to Fink who made the finish.
Wake Forest will be back in action against No. 1-ranked North Carolina at Spry Stadium at 7 p.m. on Saturday night. The Demon Deacons are currently the only team in the ACC without a loss or a tie in conference play.