Nov. 6, 2010

Courtesy of Wake Forest

CARY, N.C.
- Jackie McSally netted her third goal in two games and Amanda Howell converted the deciding penalty kick as Wake Forest advanced past No. 4 North Carolina on penalty kicks to secure a spot in the ACC Championship final on Friday at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C.

The Demon Deacons will face second-seeded Maryland for the conference title on Sunday at 2 p.m. in Cary. The game will be broadcast throughout the ACC footprint on regional sports networks.

"I'm really happy with my team's character and our ability to execute our game plan," said head coach Tony da Luz. "I knew the kids were super-committed to the game and seeing it through."

McSally scored off of an assist from Marisa Park in the 50th minute to give Wake Forest a 1-0 lead and the Deacons looked primed to hand the Tar Heels their first-ever loss in the ACC Championship, but North Carolina's Meghan Klingenberg equalized in the 88th minute to sent the game to overtime tied 1-1. Two scoreless overtime periods left the game to be decided by kicks from the penalty mark.

Wake Forest (12-7-2) went a perfect five for five in the shootout, with Alisha Woodson, Katie Stengel, Bianca D'Agostino India Winford and Howell all converting their attempts, and North Carolina's Klingenberg put the Tar Heels' second attempt off the right post to send the Demon Deacons through to the ACC final for the second time in program history.

"When they scored at our end, our leadership stepped up and made sure that the younger girls had their heads up because they knew that we still had the end of the game and overtimes," said Howell. "We knew that our five solid PK takers were going to make them. We just needed one to miss for them."

"I was a little jittery (before the final penalty kick) but I was pretty sure that I was going to make it," said Howell. "I told the coaches that I wanted to go fifth. I wanted the pressure. I knew I could put it away."

The fifth-seeded Deacs will take on second-seeded Maryland in the championship match. Wake Forest beat the Terrapins 2-1 in Winston-Salem earlier in the season.

The last time Wake Forest played for the ACC title was in 1999 when it defeated NC State and Maryland before falling to North Carolina in the championship match. This will mark the first time in the history of the tournament that North Carolina has not played for the championship.

McSally has scored her first three career goals in the tournament, netting twice against Florida State in the quarterfinals before scoring Wake's goal only of the evening against the Tar Heels. The freshman has scored more goals than any other player in the tournament so far.

Aubrey Bledsoe made three saves with the tie moving her record to 11-7-2 on the year.

The two teams played a tight and scoreless first half with the Tar Heels narrowly outshooting the Deacons 5-3.

Wake Forest had the best scoring chance of the half in the 42rd minute when a long ball from the midfield was misplayed by a Carolina defender, giving Katie Stengel a breakaway 30 yards from goal. She dribbled into the penalty area and attempted to slide the ball inside the left post, but missed by a few inches, preserving the 0-0 scoreline.

Jackie McSally gave Wake Forest the lead in the 50th minute when she deflected a Marisa Park cross just over the goal line for her third goal of the tournament to put the Deacons ahead 1-0.

Stengel had a chance to extend the lead in the 83rd minute when she took a through ball and dribbled around the keeper but put the shot wide of the vacant net.

Meghan Klingenberg tied the game for North Carolina in the 88th minute, finishing from close range off of assists by Ali Hawkins and Kelly McFarlane.

The teams combined for only two shots in overtime, leaving the game to be decided in penalty kicks, where the Deacs went a perfect five for five to secure advancement.