Deacs To Take On Dukes in NCAA Tournament Second Round
Nov. 19, 2011
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Wake Forest men's soccer marches on in its return to the NCAA Tournament after advancing on penalty kicks (4-3) in a first round draw against South Carolina. In the round of 32, the Demon Deacons will meet 14th-seeded James Madison. Kickoff is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 20 at the JMU Soccer Complex in Harrisonburg, Va.
An unseeded, at-large admission into the tournament, Wake Forest has advanced to the field of 32 for the 12th time in school history and is playing some of its best soccer of the season. Overall, the Deacs hold an 8-7-5 overall record after going 4-3-1 and tying for third-place in the perennially tough ACC.
Despite a strong schedule and resume, Wake will not have the luxury of any home matches for the duration of its participation and faces a future match with either third-seeded UConn or Monmouth - provided the Deacs are able to get through JMU in the second round.
This pairing will mark the first postseason meeting between the two schools and sixth matchup all-time.
The Demon Deacons are in their 10th trip to the NCAA Men's Soccer Tournament in the past 11 seasons, where head coach Jay Vidovich's side had a dominant run from 2006-2009 - including a 2007 NCAA Championship and four consecutive College Cup appearances. That run was snapped last season when the Deacs were left out of the field for the first time in a decade, despite a third-place regular season finish in the ACC.
Tickets will be available at the JMU Soccer Complex gate (opens at 4 p.m.) and run $7.00 for adults, $4.00 for senior citizens (62+) and $3.00 for youth (ages 3-17)
Scouting The Dukes
James Madison finished the year 12-4-2 overall and 8-3-0 in the Colonial Athletic Association to claim a regular season conference championship. Semifinalists in the CAA Tournament, JMU was awarded the tournament's 14th seed and a first round bye for the first time in program history.
This is the Dukes' 13th appearance in the NCAA Tournament (and first since 2005), where they are 4-12-1 all-time. The Dukes also bring a 10 match unbeaten home streak into the match (9-0-1) and have won 12 games in 2011 - the most for the program since the `05 season.
Among the the pair's common opponents, JMU has dropped a 4-1 decision to North Carolina on Sept. 13 (Wake lost 1-0) and defeated William & Mary 1-0 on Oct. 19 (Wake also defeated W&M 1-0).
In 2011, JMU has outscored its opponents 31-22 and outshot them 259-208.
Senior forward Patrick Innes leads the side with 13 goals and two assists for 28 points, while his partner up top, junior Paul Wyatt, is also in double figures for the Dukes with 15 points (6g, 3a).
Justin Epperson has logged every minute between the sticks for JMU, starting all 18 matches and recording shutouts in eight of them. The redshirt senior holds a 1.19 GAA and has made 50 saves.
The Deacs and Dukes have never met this late in the season, or in the postseason at all. The two are locked up 2-2-1 all-time in five previous meetings. Wake Forest has won the past two in 2-0 fashion, most recently in 2001. Wake also defeated a No. 7-ranked JMU team in 1997.
With a win, Wake Forest will meet the winner of the No. 3 UConn-Monmouth match on Sunday, Nov. 27 at a campus site. Match time is TBA.
Last Time Out
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The 2011 Demon Deacons have set a program record with five double overtime ties and have seen seven matches enter overtime this season, including four straight, the most for a Wake team since the 2005 season. The Deacs are 1-1-5 in double OT matches.
Coming Of Age Story
After four straight runs to the College Cup from 2006-09, the Wake Forest men's soccer team went through a bit of a rebuilding year in 2010 with one of the nation's youngest rosters featuring 19 freshman and sophomore contributors.
Now the newest wave of Demon Deacons are getting their first taste of NCAA Tournament competition. 10 Deacs made their tournament debuts in the NCAA First Round. All but four players on the 2011 roster had never seen action in an NCAA Tournament game.
It's So Good To Be Back
After one year out of the field of 48, the Deacons return to the NCAA Tournament in 2011. It will be the 15th all-time appearance in the tourney for Wake Forest and 10th in the past 11 years (2001-2009, 2011).
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