No. 1 Wake Draws with Elon
Oct. 2, 2007
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - The No. 1 Wake Forest men's soccer team tied with Elon Tuesday night at Spry Stadium, finishing the contest at 1-1 after 110 minutes of action.
With the draw the Deacons now stand at 7-0-1 overall, while the Phoenix is 5-2-3.
The goal came less than ten minutes after Opara entered the contest, subbing in for senior Julian Valentin, who had his first start of the season in the match after suffering a pre-season injury.
Elon's Justin Wyatt was the first to score, slipping a high shot past WFU goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald in the 43rd minute. The goal brought Wyatt's tally for the year to six, keeping the sophomore out of Raleigh, N.C. the leading Phoenix striker.
For the first time this season, the Deacons were trailing at halftime. At the start of the final regulation period, Wake found gaps in the Elon defense, but the Deacs were unable to finish several attempts. Marcus Tracy looked to tie the game in the 63rd minute but the shot went just wide of the mark. Evan Brown had another close call a few minutes later, but Elon keeper Clint Irwin made a diving save to keep the Phoenix on top.
At the end of the match, Irwin totaled five saves.
"He really kept them in the game," Wake Forest Head Coach Jay Vidovich said. "He made some great saves and he's got a lot of talent."
Wake Forest out-shot the Phoenix 18-5 overall, but Elon's shots were on target, with two shots on goal.
In the 16th minute Elon's Clint Collins' attempt hit the woodwork and rebounded, setting up teammate Brett Paschall who launched a rocket out of Fitzgerald's range. WFU senior defender Pat Phelan stepped in just in time to clear the ball off the line and into Wake Forest possession.
"Pat really is a great all-around defender. He had a great game tonight," Vidovich said. Corben Bone had the only shot by both teams in the first over time, taking a left-side look from 20-yards out that hit the side netting in the 99th minute.
Both teams amplified intensity in the final extra period. The Deacons had the first possession and Marcus Tracy fired a shot, but the Elon keeper batted it back into play. WFU's Cody Arnoux recovered the rebound but lost his footing and the ball was knocked out by Elon. Austin da Luz took the resulting corner kick for the Deacons and Ike Opara rose above the chaos to head the ball, but Elon's keeper was there with the save, keeping the Phoenix out of the fire.
"They really put a lot of people behind the ball," Phelan said. "When you have 22 guys on one half of the field things become difficult."
On Elon's next possession defender Ben Lunka took a midrange shot but the ball went just over two feet wide of the Deacon goal and the contest remained tied up.
Wake's Marcus Tracy made the final shot of the night in the 110th minute, but the ball soared over the net to end the contest.
"This is not the end of our season by any means," Phelan said. "We have 7 a.m. practice tomorrow and we will be looking towards this weekend."
The Deacons will return to ACC action this Friday, as they travel to Blacksburg, Va. to face the Virginia Tech Hokies at 7 p.m.