Wake, UNC square off in soccer semifinals
Published 12:00 am Friday, December 12, 2008
FRISCO, Texas ó Top-seeded Wake Forest is favored to repeat as College Cup champion, with fellow ACC powers Maryland and North Carolina joined by St. John’s in trying to stop the Demon Deacons.
Wake Forest (23-1-1) meets North Carolina (14-7-1) in today’s first semifinal of the NCAA men’s soccer tournament, with ACC tournament champion Maryland (21-3-0) facing St. John’s (19-2-3) in the nightcap at the home stadium of MLS’s FC Dallas.
The Demon Deacons rolled through the first three rounds of the NCAA tournament by a combined score of 13-0. The only blemishes on Wake Forest’s record are a 3-2 loss to Virginia in double-overtime in the ACC tournament and a scoreless draw with Duke in the regular season.
On Nov. 1, the Tar Heels held a 1-0 halftime lead before the Demon Deacons broke through with four goals in the second half for a 4-2 victory that clinched the ACC regular-season title.
“It speaks volumes for our conference,” Wake Forest coach Jay Vidovich said. “A lot of people questioned the state of the conference this season, so to have three is a great statement.”
Wake Forest is led by strikers Cody Arnoux (17 goals) and Marcus Tracy (13 goals). Midfielder Corben Bone, who starred in high school in nearby Plano, has a team-high 17 assists for the Deacons.
The Tar Heels rebounded from a five-game losing streak to advance through the first three rounds of the NCAAs. Coach Elmar Bolowich said his team is anxious to redeem itself after squandering the first-half lead against Wake Forest.
“We played well for 60 minutes against Wake, but then we made some mistakes and were punished,” Bolowich said. “But playing in the ACC, it does prepare you. There are no weak teams in our conference.”
North Carolina midfielder Cameron Brown said his team is eager to snap a three-game losing streak against Wake Forest and knock off the top team in the country.
“It’s time we gave Wake Forest a run and put them on their heels,” said Brown, who grew up in a Dallas suburb.