Berry Heads No. 17 Deacons Past UMass 1-0
By Alex Botoman, Wake Forest Athletic Communications (@SIDeacons)
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Ally Berry headed a Jessica Mandarich corner kick into the back of the net in the 61st minute to send No. 17 Wake Forest past UMass 1-0 on Friday at Spry Stadium in the opening round of the Wake Forest Invitational.
The Demon Deacons (5-1-1) dominated the contest from whistle to whistle, outshooting the Minutewomen (2-3-0) 24-3, but had been unable to find the final ball until Berry connected with her head. The service was provided by Mandarich, who was seeing her first action since the season opener after recovering from an injury.
"We had been missing (Mandarich's) corner kicks," said Berry. "Once she got in and (went to take the corner kick), everybody kind of pointed to each other and said, `Let's put this one in, we know where it's going.' Jackie McSally was only a few feet behind me and she would have put it in if I didn't, so it was a perfect cross."
That Wake Forest scored off of a corner kick was nothing new. Six of the Demon Deacons' 11 goals this season have been a product of set pieces, with four of them the result of corner kicks.
"Tony (da Luz) has been stressing set pieces a lot in practice," said Berry. "Every time we would go in (for a set piece), I think everybody wanted the ball."
The Deacons could have scored on numerous other occasions if not for the heroics of Minutewomen goalkeeper Stephanie Gordon who made a number of brilliant saves, finishing with 13 on the night, to keep her team in the game.
Aubrey Bledsoe extended her Wake Forest school record with her 20th career shutout, and the third of 2012, making one save.
Even after Berry's goal, the Demon Deacons continued to press forward and had a flurry of great chances late in the match. In the 85th minute, Gordon twice stopped Riley Ridgik, who took two rips from inside the box, and less than a minute later, made two other tremendous saves on Marisa Park and Berry.
The Demon Deacons will close out the Wake Forest Invitational on Sunday when they host Illinois at 2 p.m. at Spry Stadium. The match is Wake Forest's Game of the Week, and fans in attendance can enter to win a pair of men's basketball season tickets.