Wake Forest Advances to NCAA Tournament Second Round in Penalty Kick Thriller
Nov. 17, 2011
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Michael Lisch ran for his life once, and then he did it again in jubilation as the Wake Forest men's soccer team survived South Carolina in a 4-3 shootout after playing to a 1-1 draw in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday, Nov. 17 at Stone Stadium.
"You can see why South Carolina was the No. 1 seed out of the Conference USA," said Wake Forest head coach Jay Vidovich. "It was just a great soccer match for soccer fans, going right down to the penalty kicks."
The nail-biting PK finish saw Lisch come up big when it counted, blocking three Gamecock penalty kicks officially. The junior keeper actually stopped the sixth attempt twice after initially sprinting off to prematurely celebrate before J.P. Rafferty was granted a re-kick by the officials.
"Each PK, one's not more pressure than the other," said Lisch. "I just take each one as it comes, I just treat it like the next PK. It came to me on the left side and I felt it going that way. I put my hands out and blocked it, the rest is history."
In their first NCAA Tournament shootout since Dec. 2, 2006, the Deacons opened up with a Danny Wenzel conversion to take a 1-0 lead and stayed even with South Carolina until 3-3. Both teams missed on their third and fifth attempts to set up a dramatic ending. Freshman Teddy Mullin nailed the ultimate match-decider on the Demon Deacons' sixth try on net.
"From our standpoint, it's a very tough way to lose," said South Carolina head coach Mark Berson. "I think our guys played very well, I thought we carried a lot of the battle to Wake Forest in the second half and had a number of really good chances. But, it just didn't happen for us tonight."
Of course, this was all after an announced crowd of 1,032 took in 110 minutes of exciting, yet even soccer. After two overtimes, the score remained knotted at 1-1.
Wake broke through for the first time in the opening stanza on a strike by sophomore midfielder Ross Tomaselli, who cleaned up a cross from Okoli and curled it in off the near post in the 10th minute.
"Like my other goal this year, it's kind of surreal when you first score it," Tomaselli said. "But then the game settles down a little bit. I'm just happy to help the team and glad we got the 'W'"
The Deacs entered the locker room with a 6-3 advantage in shots, but were edged 5-2 in corners by South Carolina. The restarts caused a couple hairy moments in the box, but Lisch escaped the first half clean and was credited with two saves. He would finish the night with six stops over the full 110.
South Carolina, re-energized out of the half, went on the offensive early and earned a penalty kick on a hard tackle in the box at the 50:25 mark. Sophomore Chipper Root went far post to convert the attempt and make it a 1-1 match.
With 10 minutes left in regulation, the Deacs were presented with a stadium side free kick inside the box and could not convert after several header tries. Junior Anthony Arena had the final lunge, but it sailed high.
Just a minute later, junior Andy Lubahn broke through the backline on a juggled ball and fired a missile that caromed off the cross bar. Three cards were also handed out during a physical second half, including an ejection to USC assistant coach Bert Molinary.
After concluding regulation play at a 1-1 impasse, the Deacs would head to overtime for the seventh time this season. Wake was outshot 6-2 over the extra frames, but held firm on defense to go to penalty kicks for the first time since the 2009 ACC Tournament.
Next up for the Deacs will be another road matchup in the NCAA Second Round, as the team will travel to James Madison University on Sunday, Nov. 19 for a 5:00 p.m. draw with the Dukes.
Wake moves to 3-3-1 all-time in the NCAA Tournament First Round and 1-1-1 against South Carolina in the tournament. Head Coach Jay Vidovich moves to 19-7-3 in the NCAA Tournament.
The Demon Deacons now hold a 14-12-5 advantage in the all-time series with the Gamecocks and are 6-5-3 at Stone Stadium.
Wake Forest advances on penalty kicks for the first time in 15 trips to the NCAA Tournament.
The Demon Deacons secured a result in their first-ever trip outside of North Carolina for the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. It was only the second time Wake ever opened the tourney away from its home field.
WFU will enter the NCAA Tournament Second Round for the 12th time in program history. Wake Forest sports a 7-4 record in the second round.
10 different Deacons made their NCAA Tournament debuts. Entering the match, only five upperclassmen (Anthony Arena, Andy Lubahn, Danny Wenzel, Sean Randolph and Doug Ryan) had seen tournament action.
Sophomore midfielder Ross Tomaselli scored his first goal ever in postseason action, going near post in the 10th minute. The sophomore now has two career tallies.
The Demon Deacons have now been to four overtimes in a row and the team's seven overtime matches in 2011 ties for the most by a Wake Forest side since 2005. The program record for overtime matches in a season is 10, which was set by the 1990 squad.
Wake Forest is 7-1-1 in 2011 when scoring the first goal of the match.
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