The NC State men’s soccer team fell to No. 6 Wake Forest 3-1 at Dail Soccer Field Friday night.
The No. 20 Wolfpack (7-3-1, 3-2-0 ACC) held strong against the Deacons (10-2-0, 4-1-0 ACC) until the final five minutes where they were able to pull ahead with two goals in quick succession. Both teams held strong defensively during the entire first half leaving the scoreboard at zero.
It wouldn’t be until past halfway through the second period that the Deacs would break through for the first point. The Wolfpack soon followed with a goal of its own off of a penalty kick by senior midfielder Gabriel Machado.
“We pressed them a lot, that was great for us,” Machado said. “Before the game we were talking about, ‘get after them and do our best’ in terms of pressing them, making them play under pressure. And then the game stopped. It could go both ways. We had chances, they had chances. So in small details, they won the game.”
The Wolfpack had many shot opportunities. Compared to the Demon Deacons, the Pack outshot the Deacs by one, 7-6.
Sophomore forward Ivy Brisma was the first member of the Pack to take a shot within the first minute of play but it was blocked.
However, the Pack got into some foul trouble during the first period. After four consecutive fouls, the referee pulled a yellow card on Machado. Yellow cards were also pulled on junior midfielder David Lorea and junior defender David Norris. In the second half, the Pack tallied only two yellow cards, one on sophomore defender Pepe Garcia and one on the NC State bench.
By the end of the first half alone, the Pack had racked up 11 fouls compared to the Deacs’ four.
The Pack’s defense stayed strong and successful in the first half. Redshirt senior goalie Vincent Durand was able to save four goals by the end of the night. With teamwork and passing, the Pack had been able to keep any threat of a goal away for the majority of the game.
The Demon Deacons were highly skilled too and were quick to create a three-man trap for Brisma on the sideline to take the ball.
“I think it’s just keep getting better at what we do,” head coach George Kiefer said. “And then it always comes down to individuals. Individuals finishing chances. Individuals closing guys and not getting beat off the dribble. Just the collective little parts of the game, we just keep getting better at those.”
The second half opened with Norris attempting to headbutt the ball into the goal from a corner kick from senior forward Tyler Gabarra but missed. Wake Forest forward Kyle Holcomb managed to score the first goal with an assist from redshirt senior forward Tater Rennhack in the 72nd minute.
Only a minute after did the Wolfpack have its chance to tie up the score after a Wake Forest player was called for a handball in the box. Machado successfully scored the shot with 14 minutes left in the game. The penalty shot was Machado’s first goal of the season.
“I felt totally prepared for that [penalty shot] because my team gave me confidence,” Machado said. “I knew they had my back so I felt totally confident.”
Wake Forest was allowed two shots at the Wolfpack’s net as Durand managed to save the first shot but let the second one slip by, giving the Deacs an edge in the game.
Five minutes later and the same scenario occurred again. Two attempts by the Deacs at the goal and again Durand saved the first but the second one slipped in to leave the Deacs up 3-1 with 10 seconds left, securing their victory over the Wolfpack.
“Wake’s a good team,” Kiefer said. “I think on the second goal, [junior defender Jamie Smith] would have cleared it but he lost his footing and slipped so it’s just unfortunate. He was in the right spot and went to clear the ball and his foot gave out and slipped.”
The Wolfpack will kick off in an away game against South Carolina on Tuesday at 7 p.m.