No. 7 Deacons Rally to Stun No. 15 Portland 3-2
Sep 8, 2013
By Alex Botoman, Wake Forest Athletic Communications (@WakeWSoccer)
PORTLAND, Ore. - No. 7 Wake Forest used a second-half blitzkrieg capped off by a game-winner from Ally Berry to erase a 2-0 deficit and stun No. 15 Portland 3-2 on Sunday afternoon at Merlo Field.
After entering the locker room down 2-0 at halftime, the Demon Deacons (5-0-0) scored twice in the first five minutes of the second half to even the score and shift momentum in their favor. The winner came in the 76th minute when Berry found the rebound of a Jackie McSally shot and then found the back of the net from eight yards.
"They killed us in the first half. We were lucky it was only 2-0," said head coach Tony da Luz. "We changed some things in the second half, and the kids responded great getting those early goals - it just took all the momentum out of their game.
"I'm so proud of the kids for bouncing back and playing so much better in the second half," said da Luz. "It means so much to me to win here in this stadium."
It was the first time since a 1996 game against Rhode Island that Wake Forest came back to win after trailing by two goals, and the first time ever that the Deacons erased a two-goal deficit on the road against a ranked team.
Wake Forest claimed the Portland Nike Invitational title, winning its games against Washington and then the Pilots (3-1-1) today. Berry was named Offensive MVP of the tournament, and Caralee Keppler was named Defensive MVP.
"To travel out here and play this team on a Sunday at their home and come away with a victory just doesn't happen" said da Luz. "They don't lose here on Sundays very often. I told (the team) before the game that if you can come in and do this, you're going to have this forever."
After a flat first half, the Deacons threw three forwards onto the field to start the second half and it paid off almost immediately.
Less than four minutes later, a good buildup led to Katie Stengel playing a through ball to the right side and Caroline Wootten racing past her marker to finish one-on-one with Portland goalkeeper Erin Dees, evening the score at 2-2.
The winner came as the result of a free kick. Rachel Nuzzolese served the ball into the box to Jackie McSally, who tried a shot that was blocked by a Portland defender. Berry was there to corral the rebound though, and she made no mistake with her shot from eight yards that gave the Deacons the lead, and eventually the win.
Portland had taken the lead in the 21st minute on a penalty kick. Kim Marshall was called for a foul inches inside the right side of the box and the referee pointed to the spot. Amanda Frisbie stepped up to the spot and buried a shot to the left side to put the Pilots in front 1-0.
The Pilots doubled their lead in the 39th minute. Aubrey Bledsoe charged off her line to destroy a Portland breakaway, but the Pilots retained possession and Allison Wetherington blasted home a shot from the left before Bledsoe had a chance to fully recover.
Wake Forest will open up ACC play on Thursday when it hosts No. 2 Florida State at 7 p.m. at Spry Stadium before welcoming Miami to town on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Highlights Courtesy of Portland Athletics
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