O-GOAL-I: Deacs Top Pack 3-1 Behind Okoli's Hat Trick
Oct. 19, 2012
By Steven Wright, Wake Forest Athletic Communications (@SIDeacons)
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Sean Okoli scored his first-collegiate hat trick and head coach Jay Vidovich won his 250th-career game on Friday night , as No. 17 Wake Forest defeated NC State 3-1 at Spry Stadium in the Fifth Annual Genna Wiley Memorial Match.
The win puts Wake Forest at 9-2-4 overall and 3-1-3 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. NC State falls to 8-7-0 and 1-5-0 in conference play.
The Genna Wiley Memorial Match is named after the late wife of former Demon Deacon men's soccer trainer Steve Wiley. Genna tragically lost her battle with breast cancer three days after Wake Forest won the 2007 NCAA National Championship. Pink jerseys were up for bid in a silent auction throughout the night, as the team raised $1,960 for the Triad affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure.
Okoli, who now leads the team with eight goals on the year, scored in the 33rd, 59th and 70th minutes to secure his hat trick. It was the team's second of the season, as Luca Gimenez earned one at Virginia Tech on September 28, and the 27th in Wake Forest history. In addition, this marks the first time since 2001 that the Demon Deacons have scored two hat tricks in a season. Jeremiah White and Christian Lonteen both achieved the feat that year.
For Vidovich, his 250th win comes in his 19th year at the helm. He is now 250-106-42 overall for a .681 winning percentage. His 250 wins are also the sixth most by any coach in the history of the ACC.
Gimenez and Ben Newnam each picked up assists on the night. Gimenez now has three, while it was the first assist of the year for Newnam.
The Deacs maintained possession for the vast majority of the first half and outshot the Wolfpack 6-1 before halftime. In the 26th minute, Jared Watts played Gimenez through on the left side of the box. After a few touches he sent the ball far post but it was just ahead of a streaking Okoli.
Just a few minutes later, Collin Martin played Okoli through, but a charging Fabian Otte was able to just get a hand on Okoli's shot to set up a corner kick. Martin played the corner outside the top of the box about 25 yards out to Luciano Delbono, and Otte was forced to make another difficult save on Delbono's blast from distance.
Wake Forest finally broke through in the 33rd minute on a very similar play to the 26th-minute attempt. Gimenez had the ball on the left side, and after beating a couple defenders, he found Okoli for the tap in on the far post to put the Deacs up 1-0.
After the half, NC State showed some life and responded almost immediately in the 50th minute with a game-tying goal from Moss Jackson-Atogi. Nazmi Albadawi sent one into the box and Jackson-Atogi was able to deflect it in the goal.
Okoli's second goal came less than 10 minute later at 58:33. Newnam beat a few defenders into the box from his left back position and crossed the ball to Okoli near post for the score.
On his final goal, Okoli did the work himself by stripping an NC State defender of the ball just outside the 18, taking a couple touches and finding the back of the net at 69:42.
Okoli ended the night with six shots, including five on goal. The Wolfpack took just six shots as a team.
Wake Forest will be back in action on Tuesday for its final regular season road game at Elon at 7 p.m.