Wake Forest pummels Central Florida
Demon Deacons shutout Knights to advance to first College Cup
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Wake Forest stormed onto the field in celebration. Head coach Tony da Luz ran over to the Spry Stadium stands to thank the 1,048 fans in attendance. After a resounding 3-0 victory against Cenral Florida in the NCAA tournament quarterfinals, the Demon Deacons advanced to their first-ever College Cup, which will be held on December 2 and 4 in Kennesaw, Ga.
"It's a reward to have the opportunity with a weekend to win the national championship," da Luz said. "We've done everything that we had to do to control our destiny and honor our No. 1 seeding. Now it's just two games, and we're not done yet."
"It's unreal -- it's a great feeling," defender Kim Marshall said. "I went and watched the College Cup all of those years with my club team. I never thought that I would be there, but here we are."
Wake Forest (18-3-4) will face a familiar foe in the semifinals in fellow No. 1 seed Duke, which advanced to the College Cup by topping Long Beach State 2-0. The Deacons and Blue Devils split a pair of meetings already this season, with Duke prevailing 2-0 in the regular season and Wake Forest scoring a 2-1 win in the semifinals of the ACC Championships.
The Deacons spread the scoring around to vanquish the Knights, getting goals from 2011 ACC Offensive Player of the Year Katie Stengel, who had the game-winner, along with Kristen Meier and Marisa Park. Meier, Alisha Woodson, Jordan Feger, Jackie McSally and Rachel Nuzzolese all earned assists in the game.
Stengel's goal was her 19th of the season, extending her single-season record and putting her only one goal shy of the Wake Forest career goal-scoring mark of 36 that is held by Jill Hutchinson.
Aubrey Bledsoe made five saves in net to extend her school record to 14 shutouts this season.
Katie Stengel gave the Deacons the lead with a blasted shot from 12 yards in the 28th minute. Alisha Woodson set up the entire play, running all the way forward from her right back position before muscling away a defender to slide a low cross into the box. Kristen Meier provided a slight tap that sent the ball to Stengel, and the sophomore made no mistake with her finish.
Meier doubled the score just before the half with a beautiful sliding finish off of a Jackie McSally cross. McSally's long run down the left flank was set up after Jordan Feger passed out of the middle to find her in space.
"Before I passed that ball to McSally, I heard Jackie Logue behind me yelling, `go forward, go forward!,' " Feger said. "Sometimes I tend to go sideways, but that encouragement got me going forward. Then I saw Jackie McSally and she was making a good run down the line."
Marisa Park finished off the scoring in the 75th minute. Rachel Nuzzolese made a brilliant move to beat her defender and take off on a torrid run down the left side. She then cut toward the middle and dished to a wide-open Park on the right who rocketed a shot from 20 yards past UCF goalkeeper Aline Reis.