Men's Soccer to Open ACC Tournament Against Familiar Postseason Foe
Nov. 7, 2011
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - No. 5 Wake Forest will meet the fourth-seeded University of Virginia in the ACC Tournament Quarterfinals on Tuesday, Nov. 8 for a second straight season as the Demon Deacons enter on a season-high four match unbeaten streak. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. in Charlottesville, Va.
The winner will advance to play in Cary, N.C. on Friday, Nov. 11 in the ACC Tournament semifinals at WakeMed Soccer Park, which will be televised nationally via ESPN3. The 2011 ACC Championship will kick off Sunday, Nov. 13 at noon and will be televised on ESPNU.
Tickets for the quarterfinals are $10 for reserved seating, $8 for general admission and $5 for youth/senior general admission. Fans can order tickets by phone through the Virginia Athletics Ticket Office at 800-542-UVA1 (8821) or 434-924-UVA1 (8821). Tickets are also available at the gate beginning one hour prior to the start of play.
Coming off two straight road results against top-10 opponents, the Deacs head off to another historically tough place to play and will be looking to continue to reverse their fortunes against UVa. Historically, Virginia has owned the series between the two schools. Even with a 4-3 Wake win on Oct. 14, Virginia still leads the Deacs 34-8-6 all-time. Nevertheless, the past few years have seen a sea change in the matchup and Wake will be going for a third win in four tries against the Cavaliers - a side that has yet to lose to Wake Forest in the ACC Tournament.
Three different Deacs have reached the 10-point plateau this season, and freshman Sean Okoli has been finding the net with regularity lately - the striker has four tallies in his past four matches. Another freshman, Teddy Mullin, leads the Deacs with six assists on the season.
In goal, Michael Lisch has answered the bell in all 18 matches for Wake Forest. The junior has posted a 1.21 GAA to go along with 70 saves and five shutouts. Most recently, Lisch stopped 13 shots in Wake's season finale against Maryland - the most saves in a match this year by an ACC keeper.
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Scouting The Cavaliers
A perenially strong playoff team, Virginia enters the match with a 11-0-3 advantage against Wake Forest in ACC Tournament play. The Cavaliers have also advanced to 30 consecutive NCAA Tournaments - the longest such streak in the nation. The Deacons have seen their run in the ACC Tournament halted by the Hoos in three consecutive postseasons.
This year's Virginia side features a balanced attack with 11 different student-athletes finding the back of the net. UVa will be without the services of preseason All-American Will Bates, who is out for the season with a knee injury, but have relied on the scoring of two Brian's in his absence. Brian Span and Ownby each have five goals apiece, while Span has dished out a team-high five assists.
Freshman Spencer LaCivita has logged every minute in goal for the Cavs and sports seven shutouts to go along with 63 saves and a 1.21 GAA.
UVa and WFU have been bitter rivals, especially in the past five years, despite the UVa's major advantage in the all-time series (34-8-6). Wake has taken two-of-three and is 5-4-2 against Virginia since 2006.
The Deacs upset No. 25 Virginia 4-3 on Oct. 14 this season at Spry and got its last win in Charlottesville just a year ago, going on the road to take down then-No. 2 Virginia, 1-0, during the regular season. This will be the second straight season the Deacs and Hoos have met in the ACC Quarterfinals.
Last Time Out
Freshman striker Sean Okoli extended his goal scoring streak to four straight matches with a 50th minute equalizer to help the Wake Forest men's soccer team to a 1-1 draw against No. 4 Maryland on Thursday, Nov. 3 at Ludwig Field.
With the result, Wake also posted its sixth straight winning season in ACC play and 14th overall, as well as its 25th winning season in program history. The four draws for the year equals a program record set three times before (1999, 2002 and 2006).
After managing just one shot in the opening 45, the Deacs would capitalize off their second attempt in the 50th minute. The sequence started when Lisch intercepted a Maryland restart and launched a long throw past the midline to Okoli. The freshman striker controlled the long lob and made a move to his left before firing a high-arcing shot over Maryland's Will Swaim from 25 yards. With the equalizer, Okoli moved into a tie for the team lead in points with 10 - nine of which have come in his past four matches.
For the night, Maryland outshot Wake 35-6 and took an 18-2 advantage in corners but the Deacon defense held firm after allowing a 31st minute goal to the Terps' John Stertzer.
Notes from the Maryland Match
Sean Okoli scored the Deacs' equalizer for his fourth goal in as many matches. During his past three starts, the forward has nine of his 10 points.
GK Michael Lisch stopped 13 shots, which stands as the most saves in the ACC this season and tied for 10th most in the NCAA.
Jared Watts received his second red card of the season and third of his career in the first OT. Due to NCAA rules, he will be required to serve a suspension for the Deacons' next two matches.
The all-time series remained even at 15-15-5. Wake has two of five results at Ludwig Field since 2008, as Maryland is now 48-4-1 at home in the past three years.
Wake Forest is now 8-13-3 when playing top-10 teams in back-to-back matches.
With a win, Wake Forest will travel to WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. on Friday for one of two semifinal matches at either 5:30 or 7:00 p.m. With a loss, the Deacs will be on hold until they learn their fate for the upcoming NCAA Tournament, which will begin on Nov. 17 at campus sites. The field will be announced on Monday, Nov. 14.
Freshman Sean Okoli has arrived over the past four matches for the Deacs, most recently delivering the Deacons' equalizer in the 49th minute in a 1-1 draw at No. 4 Maryland. The rookie striker aslo had Wake's first score on Oct. 29 against No. 7 Akron in a 2-2 draw. He was named a Primetime Player of the Week by College Soccer 360.com on Nov. 1.
After going scoreless through the season's first 12 tilts, Okoli notched an assist against then-No. 25 Virginia for his first career point on Oct. 14. In the four matches since, Okoli has posted nine points, including the game-winner versus William & Mary on Oct. 25, and another helper.
Prior to the season, Soccer America picked the rookie forward as a, "Freshman of Influence," on a preseason list of the nation's best first-year players. Top Drawer Soccer also recently listed Okoli on its list of the nation's best freshmen, placing the young striker sixteenth.
Wake Forest is 6-3-1 this season when it outshoots its opponent and has outshot its opposition 276-255 in 2011.
The Deacons have two wins this season when being outshot, the first of which came Friday, Oct. 14 against No. 25 Virginia. Wake was also outshot in its 5-2 win at NC State on Oct. 22.
Today In Deacon History - Nov. 8
Wake Forest is 2-3-1 in six all-time appearances on Nov. 8 and has been outscored 8-9 by its opponents.
The last time the Deacs were in action on the eighth day of the 11th month of the year was back in 2005 as Wake pounded Boston College 4-0 to open the ACC Tournament.
The Early Goal Gets The `W'
Scoring first has been a sign of good things to come for the Deacs. Since 2003, when scoring the first goal, Wake Forest is 118-7-5 (.927). Conversely, when the opponent draws first blood, the Demon Deacons are 19-36-7 (.363).
In 2011, WFU is 7-0 when getting on the board first.
Wake Forest Vs. The ACC
Wake Forest has a losing record all-time against teams from the ACC, recording a 103-127-35 record against teams from the league. The Deacons are 82-100-25 all-time in league play. A complete listing of series results against teams from the ACC is included below.