Men's soccer: No. 2 Wake Forest wins 2016 ACC Tournament
CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Second-ranked Wake Forest men's soccer put forth a complete performance at MUSC Health Stadium in earning a 3-1 victory over No. 3 Clemson to claim the 2016 ACC Tournament championship on Sunday afternoon.
Ian Harkes, Jacori Hayes and Steven Echevarria each scored in the first half as Wake Forest put home all three shots it had on goal in the opening 45 minutes. The tournament victory is the second in program history and the first since a Walt Chyzowych-led Wake Forest led the Demon Deacons to the title in 1989.
After the game, Harkes was named the ACC Tournament MVP while he, Hayes, Jon Bakero and Kevin Politz were named to the All-Tournament Team. Both Harkes and Hayes were named to the All-Tournament team a season ago as well.
Wake Forest, now 15-2-3 on the season, now has a record of 14-0-2 when scoring first in games. The three goals ties for the most in a single game this season for the Demon Deacons, the other occasion coming Sept. 6 against Appalachian State.
Harkes got the Demon Deacons on the board in the 24th minute when he took a pass from Luis Argudo at the top of the box and one-timed his chance inside the left post to make it 1-0. Eleven minutes later, Jacori Hayes took a pass from Harkes and was one-on-one with the keeper breaking into the box after his trailing defender couldn't keep up. Hayes poked his shot past the keeper for his team-high seventh goal of the season. The goal also went down as the game-winner, marking his fourth of the year.
Steven Echevarria put the icing on the cake late in the first half when he tipped home a Tane Gent shot that was partially blocked by the goalkeeper. The goal was Echevarria's second of the season and first since August 28 against Cal Poly.
The three-goal lead at halftime marked the most goals Wake Forest scored in a half since scoring three first-half goals against Louisville on Oct. 30, 2015, in a 4-2 win that claimed the ACC Atlantic title.
Clemson got one back in the 67th minute when Hunter Bandy was called for taking down a Clemson attacker in the box. Tanner Dieterich stepped up and buried the PK to make it 3-1, but that was as close as the Tigers would get.
The victory avenges a regular-season loss on Sept. 30 at Clemson, 1-0. The loss at Clemson marks the only regular-season loss in ACC play for Wake Forest in two seasons under head coach Bobby Muuss.
Wake Forest will now await the NCAA Selection Show on Monday, Nov. 14, at 1 p.m. on NCAA.com. The Demon Deacons earned the ACC's automatic bid to the tournament with the win Sunday. A season ago, Wake Forest was the No. 1 seed in the tournament and made a run to the Elite Eight, the deepest run since the 2009 season.