Nov. 6, 2016
by Tony Jones
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – A tactical soccer stalemate through nearly 75 minutes was broken by host Wake Forest on Sunday in Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Championship play. The No. 2 Demon Deacons found the back of the net with under 16 minutes remaining to down the University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team 1-0 in the quarterfinal round of the ACC tournament at Spry Stadium.
No. 16 Notre Dame (11-6-2) will await its draw into the NCAA Championship when the tournament field is unveiled on Nov. 14. The Irish have qualified for NCAA tournament play in 14 of the last 15 seasons under head coach Bobby Clark.
Notre Dame found its first tempting scoring chance in the 15th minute after winning a free kick along the right wing deep in Wake Forest (13-2-3) territory. Tri-captain Evan Panken lofted a looping service toward the left post for Jeffrey Farina, where a right-footed Farina blast soared over the crossbar and kept the match scoreless.
Wake Forest created chances of its own as the opening half progressed. Ian Harkes ripped a free kick from 20 yards off the Notre Dame bar in the 27th minute, allowing the Irish defense to clear the zone. Ema Twumasi was next to try in the 32nd minute, sending a rocket shot through a crowd toward the right post. Notre Dame goalkeeper Chris Hubbard sprawled to his left and punched the ball out of play for an incredible save.
The stalemate into the 75th minute was broken by a great play off the feet of Wake Forest striker Jacori Hayes. Hayes dribbled to the left side of the Notre Dame 18-yard box and artfully sent a bending right-footed shot inside the far post for his sixth goal of the season, and the 1-0 Demon Deacons lead, at 74:11.
Notre Dame made one last surge toward the Wake Forest goal in the 85th minute and nearly found the equalizer on a skillful play of its own. Jack Casey centered the ball from the right flank with his left foot into the Demon Deacon box, where Jon Gallagher narrowly missed connecting on what would have been a tying bicycle kick. Trailing on the play, Panken was able to put a solid header on the ball at the left post that Wake Forest goalkeeper Alec Ferrell corralled for the save.
Play of the Game
Notre Dame goalkeeper Chris Hubbard made one of the top saves of the season on Ewa Twumasi in the 32nd minute. Twumasi, who scored a goal for Wake Forest when the two teams met on Oct. 8 at Alumni Stadium, launched a promising chance from the top of the 18-yard box that sent Hubbard diving to his left to parry the try clear of the right post.
After tri-captain Evan Panken found Jeffrey Farina in front of the Wake Forest goal in the 15th minute, where Farina just missed sending the feed on frame, Notre Dame would attempt one additional shot until the 75th minute.
Note of the Game
Notre Dame fell in a true road match during a postseason tournament for the first time since a 2007 NCAA Quarterfinal showdown at Wake Forest. The No. 2 Demon Deacons emerged with a 1-0 win over the No. 10 Irish on Dec. 8 of that year.
Tony Jones, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2012 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame softball and men’s soccer programs. A native of Jamestown, New York, Jones is a 2011 graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and prior to arriving at Notre Dame held positions at the University of Louisiana Monroe and with the National Football League’s Buffalo Bills.