Oct. 25, 2009

Courtesy of Wake Forest Athletics

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Senior forward Zack Schilawski's penalty kick goal in the sixth minute lifted No. 3 Wake Forest to a 1-0 win against No. 5 Maryland on a beautiful Saturday night at Spry Stadium.

"It was a very big win for our team because we're still searching for our identity," head coach Jay Vidovich said. "We played some really good soccer in the first half. We got an early goal and should have had a couple more. Maryland did a great job of making it a very hard game to play. I think our guys grew up tonight. They dug in and got a result."

With the win, Wake Forest improves to 11-2-2 and 4-1-1 in Atlantic Coast Conference play, while Maryland drops to 10-4-1 and 4-2-1 in ACC play. Wake Forest is now tied for first in the conference with Maryland and North Carolina. All three schools have 13 points on the season.

The Deacs got the only goal of the match in the opening minutes. Schilawski played a cross from the left side, looking for Austin da Luz inside the penalty area. Da Luz was taken down, setting up the penalty kick. Schilawski calmly placed the ball into the left side of the net to provide the winning margin for Wake Forest.

"I tried to slow my run up to the ball and try to figure out what the goalkeeper was going to do," Schilawski said. "I wanted to try to make sure I was in control of the situation. I thought he was leaning a little bit to my right, so I smacked it to the left."

The goal for Schilawski was his conference-leading ninth of the season and fourth game-winning goal of the year. Schilawski now has an ACC-best 22 points in 2009. For his career, the Cary, N.C., native has scored 35 goals, which places him in a tie for fourth in school history. He also has 87 career points, which ranks fifth.

Akira Fitzgerald earned his second straight shutout and fifth of the season. Fitzgerald was forced to make one save en route to earning the clean sheet. With the shutout, he lowered his goals against average on the season to 0.74.

Wake Forest held a 13-8 advantage in shots, including a commanding 9-4 edge in the first 45 minutes. The Demon Deacons had six shots put on frame, while Maryland had just one. The Terrapins attempted nine corner kicks, while Wake had seven corners.

Jason Herrick led the offensive attack for Maryland, attempting three shots. Drew Yates and London Woodberry each had two shots.

Zac MacMath played well in goal for the Terrapins. MacMath allowed just the one goal and made five saves to keep the Terps in the match.

Wake Forest applied constant pressure on Maryland for most of the first half. The Deacs outshot the Terrapins 9-4 in the first 45 minutes and had six corner kicks.

After the penalty kick in the sixth minute, Wake had several chances to double the lead. In the 13th minute, Schilawski had a shot from the left side of the 18-yard box that he aimed toward the right post. MacMath was able to make a diving save to keep the score at 1-0.

The Deacs again nearly struck in the 18th minute. Corben Bone played a cross from the right that found da Luz at the top of the 18. Da Luz's shot went just wide of the left post.

Bone and Norman would also miss by inches later in the first half, just sending the ball wide of the left post. Bone had his shot in the 21st minute, while Norman almost found the back of the net in the 38th minute.

Maryland had its best chance of the opening half in the final seconds. A corner kick from Herrick found Woodberry near the left side of the six-yard box. From close range, Woodberry fired a shot, but Fitzgerald was able to make a diving save to keep Wake in front entering halftime.

Wake Forest came out fast in the second half and nearly doubled the lead in the 49th minute. Bone sent a cross in from the left and found Andy Lubahn about eight yards out. Lubahn headed the ball toward the goal, but his shot went wide right.

The Terrapins had a great chance to equalize in the 63rd minute. Kaoru Forbess played a through ball that found Herrick open from 16 yards out. Herrick was unable to put his shot on goal, sending it wide right.

Lubahn had a good opportunity in the 87th minute. A cross from the left side of the field found Lubahn inside the 18-yard box. Lubahn attempted a side volley from 12 yards out, but his shot went right to MacMath, who was able to make the save.

Maryland had one final opportunity in the last couple of minutes. The Terrapins had a pair of corner kicks in the final two minutes, but couldn't convert on either as the Wake Forest defense was able to clear the ball away on both corners to preserve the 1-0 win.

Wake Forest closes non-conference play on Tuesday, when it hosts Davidson. Start time at Spry Stadium is scheduled for 7 p.m.