Women's Soccer Opens NCAAs With Oakland Friday
ACC Offensive Player of the Year Katie Stengel leads the Deacons with 14 goals this season

Nov. 10, 2011

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The Wake Forest women's soccer team has earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament for the first time and will host Summit League champions Oakland on Friday at 7 p.m. at Spry Stadium.

Tickets are seven dollars for adults and three dollars for youths, students and seniors. They can be purchased by calling the Wake Forest ticket office at (336) 758-3322 (Ext. 2) or at the Spry Stadium box office before the game.

Going NCAA Streaking
Wake Forest has received a bid to the NCAA Tournament in 16 straight seasons dating back to 1996, the sixth-longest active streak in the country. The Deacons have reached at least the second round in each of the past five seasons, including a program-best quarterfinal appearance in 2009. Among ACC teams, only North Carolina (30) and Virginia (18) have been to more consecutive NCAA Tournaments.

We're Number One!
Wake Forest was rewarded with its first-ever No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament after posting a 14-3-4 record against its grueling 2011 schedule. The Demon Deacons have eight wins this year against teams in the field of 64, including five over teams that received one of the 16 national seeds.As a benefit of its top seed, Wake Forest will enjoy home field advantage through the semifinals.

Wake Forest is one of only four teams to have earned a national seed in each of the last six NCAA Tournaments, joining Florida State, North Carolina and Florida. The Deacons were a No. 4 seed last year, and prior to this season, had never been seeded higher than No. 3.

Wake Forest in the NCAA Tournament
The Tony da Luz era at Wake Forest has never seen the Demon Deacons left out of the NCAA Tournament field. Over the past 16 years, the Demon Deacons have evolved from first round fodder to perennial seeds to national title contenders.

The Deacs found limited success in their first 10 appearances, occasionally breaking through to the second round, until 2006, when the they established themselves as a national power, earning a seed for the first time.

Since that 2006 tournament, Wake Forest has been seeded nationally and advanced out of the first round every season,.The Deacons posted their best-ever NCAA result in 2009 when it topped Kennesaw State, West Virginia and South Carolina to reach the quarterfinals. Overall, Wake Forest has lost in the quarterfinals once, the third round once, the second round seven times and the third round six times.

Deacs Fall Just Short of 2nd Straight ACC Title
After Katie Stengel has given Wake Forest a 1-0 lead over Florida State with less than 30 minutes remaining in the 2011 ACC Championship Game, the Deacons looked primed to win their second-straight conference title. But Tiffany McCarty equalized for the Seminoles in the 85th minute and neither team could score in overtime, leaving the championship to be decided in a penalty kick shootout.

Wake Forest's Rachel Nuzzolese and Florida State's Hikaru Murakami each converted their team's first attempts, but Seminole goalkeeper Kelsey Wys stopped penalty kicks from Alisha Woodson, Katie Stengel and India Winford in succession, and FSU's CC Cobb and Marta Bakowska-Mathews got their shots past Deacon keeper Aubrey Bledsoe to give the `Noles their first-ever ACC championship.

Stengel Named ACC Offensive Player of the Year
Katie Stengel was voted as the 2011 ACC Offensive Player of the Year by the conference's 11 head coaches, becoming the first-ever Wake Forest player to win the award. Stengel was also named to the All-ACC First Team for the second consecutive year, making her one of only three Wake Forest players ever to earn All-ACC First Team honors multiple times.

Last year's ACC Freshman of the Year, Stengel ranks second in the conference with 14 goals and 33 points this season. In only two seasons at Wake Forest, she has already scored 30 goals, the third-most for a Demon Deacon in an entire career.

Five Deacons Earn ACC Yearly Honors
Four other Demon Deacons joined ACC Offensive Player of the Year Katie Stengel on this year's list of conference awards. Goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe was named to the All-ACC First Team, and defender Caralee Keppler was named to the All-ACC Second Team. Riley Ridgik and Kim Marshall were selected to the All-ACC Freshman Team.

Both in their second year at Wake Forest, Bledsoe and Keppler earned All-ACC honors for the first time in their careers. Bledsoe has played every minute in net for the Deacons this season, setting a new school record with 11 shutouts. Keppler has been a major part of the back line that has helped Wake Forest post a 0.64 goals against average this season - the second-lowest in the ACC.

Ridgik has started every game of her freshman season in the midfield, scoring two goals. Marshall has been a fixture at center back for the Deacons and netted her first-two career goals in the 2011 ACC Tournament.

Scouting the Golden Grizzlies
Wake Forest and Oakland will be meeting on the soccer field for the first time. The Golden Grizzlies earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament after winning the Summit League tournament on their home field as the No. 4 seed. Oakland put four players on the All-Summit League First Team, including leading goal-scorer Meghan Reynolds, who has eight goals this season.

The November Nine
The consensus best conference in women's soccer, the Atlantic Coast Conference set a new high in 2011 with nine of the league's 11 teams that sponsor the sport earning a bid to the NCAA Tournament.

The ACC led all conferences with six of the tournament's 16 national seeds, marking the fourth straight year that the conference has had six teams seeded. Three of the tournament's four No. 1 seeds belong to ACC teams Wake Forest, Duke and Florida State. The other seeded conference teams are Virginia (No. 2), North Carolina (No. 3) and Boston College (No. 4). Joining them in the field of 64 are Maryland, Virginia Tech and Miami.

NCAA Digital Program
The DI Women's Soccer Program is one of more than 40 of this year's NCAA championships game-day programs which will be available in digital format, free to college sports fans everywhere.

IMG College Publishing is partnering with the NCAA to provide fans free access to selected NCAA championship programs before, during and after the events on smart phones or computers, in an environmentally friendly manner.

The digital game publications, beginning with the preliminary rounds for the Division I men's and women's soccer championships, will be available to all fans via NCAA.com/gameprograms. The digital programs can be downloaded via the Internet to any electronic handheld device for access at any time or place. To view the program, go to

What's Next?
Should the Demon Deacons defeat Oakland, they host a four-team pod next weekend, facing the winner of the first round match between Harvard and Boston University in the second round. Potential third round opponents are No. 4 seed Penn State, along with Army, Marquette and Toledo.

 

 

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