Dec. 5, 2009

Sidebar: Wake In Rare Territory In Fourth Straight College Cup


By Harold Gutmann
Special to

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Zack Schilawski is going home to Cary, N.C. next weekend. And because of his goal 52 minutes into Wake Forest's NCAA quarterfinal against UCLA, Schilawski's teammates will be joining him.

The third-seeded Demon Deacons advanced to the College Cup for the fourth straight year with a 2-0 win over No. 6 UCLA at Spry Stadium on Saturday. They will face No. 2 Virginia Friday night at WakeMed Soccer Park, which is located in Schilawski's hometown. Wake won its lone College Cup two years ago, the last time it was held in Cary.

"It's a fun place to play for me, obviously," the senior said. "It's been good to us in the past."

The teams were all but even in shots (16-15 Wake), saves (4-3 Wake), fouls (12-12) and corner kicks (6-6). The big difference was Schilawski's finish of a rebound, followed by an insurance goal by freshman Andy Lubahn with 10 minutes left.

"Overall it was an even game," Bruins coach Jorge Salcedo said. "It was one of those things where they made the plays that made a difference, and we didn't tonight. I think we can walk out of here feeling proud of the effort, and unfortunately only one team goes forward."

Schilawski netted his 40th career goal, including his 11th in the NCAA tournament, just two off the record. It started with a cross by Luke Norman into the box to Austin da Luz, whose header hit off the right post. Schilawski was there to clean up the rebound from seven yards out.

"Austin got the ball on the left side where he does his thing, so as a striker you just try to put yourself in a good spot," said Schilawski, who has 100 career points. "I was a little bit lucky the ball bounced my way, and I was just kind of reacting and put it in."

Wake changed its tactics after the goal, hunkering down and switching from one defensive midfielder to two holding midfielders. But UCLA (12-3-4) just missed a chance to tie with 31 minutes left when goalie Akira Fitzgerald dove near-side to swat away a 10-yard shot by David Estrada, and seven minutes later Fernando Monge had a header bang off the right post.

"I thought we had good chances," said UCLA's leading scorer, Kyle Nakazawa. "It was just our sharpness, our mentality in that final play that was kind of tough tonight."

With 11 minutes remaining, Bruins goalie Brian Perk dove to his right to stop a penalty shot by da Luz, who also missed a penalty shot in the previous game. But Wake finally created some breathing room on the counterattack two minutes later when midfielder Corben Bone dribbled down the left side and passed across the box to Lubahn, who roofed a shot from 12 yards out.

It was Lubahn's 10th goal, which tied a school record for goals by a freshman.

"We always discuss our reactions to bad things in the field," Wake coach Jay Vidovich said. "We had a PK and we missed it, but we struck blood again. To get the next goal was crucial."

It was more than enough for Fitzgerald. While his counterpart was more highly-touted — Perk was the starting keeper on the U.S. FIFA U-20 World Cup team this fall — Fitzgerald was the one who posted the shutout, his eighth of the season.

"He slips under the radar because of the quality of our team last year, and I think he was overlooked this year in accolades," Vidovich said. "We usually ask a keeper to make one critical save, and he may have made 2-3 a game for us. He's one of our leaders from the beginning and he's one of the reasons we're here."

A crowd of 1,522 braved the 34-degree weather to see the Deacons win their 14th consecutive NCAA tournament home game. Schilawski and the seniors went 4-0 at home in the NCAA quarterfinals.

"I was pretty emotional after the game," Schilawski said. "I've had so many big games and been on teams where we put ourselves in so many good positions. Here at Spry, in front of the fans, it feels really good."