Men's College Cup
Tracy's two goals send Wake Forest past Va. Tech 2-0, to title match with Ohio State.
CARY, N.C. (Friday, December 14, 2007) -- Junior forward Marcus Tracy struck early and late in the second half to power third-ranked Wake Forest to a 2-0 triumph over No. 13 Virginia Tech tonight in a NCAA Division I Men's College Cup semifinal before 8,611 at SAS Soccer Park.
| Virginia Tech defeender Robert Edmans (left) takes down Wake Forest midfielder Zack Schilawski. The fould led to the set piece that produced Marcus Tracy's header and a 1-0 lead in the NCAA Men's College Cup semifinals.
-- Wake Forest University web site photo --
Advancing to its first NCAA championship game, Wake will face No. 10 Ohio State Sunday to decide the title. OSU, in its first visit to the national semifinals, edged Massachusetts 1-0 in tonight's other semifinal, using reserve striker Eric Edwards' goal in the 53rd minute.
Sunday's championship match will be at 3 p.m. (ET) and televised by ESPN2.
WFU (21-2-2) jumped ahead of Virginia Tech (14-4-5), its Atlantic Coast Conference foe, off a free kick deep in the right corner. Junior midfielder Sam Cronin hit the ball to the near post to Tracy, who had shaken his defender and was completely unmarked. Without a Hokie within five yards of him, Tracy elevated high and drilled a six-yard header inside the right post before VT junior goalkeeper Markus Aigner could even move, making it 1-0 with 50:19 elapsed.
The direct kick was awarded after Deamon Deacons reserve sophomore attacker Zack Schilawski beat VT freshman defender James Shupp, only to be grabbed and taken down. Shupp was issued a yellow card.
"We didn't mark off like we should have," Aigner said. "It was a little tough to be focused for 90 minutes. They have very good forwards and they are really good scorers. They don't miss chances like that."
Cronin and Schilawski also contributed to the Tracy tally that put WFU up 2-0 with the Hokies' back-line again caught flat-footed on a set piece. Cronin drove a long free kick from behind the center stripe to the top left center of the penalty area where Tracy again demonstrated his exceptional ability to jump. He went high over junior defender Alexander Baden to head the ball to three yards above the right corner of the six-yard box.
Showing nice agility, Schilawski headed the ball back to Tracy, who had ranged to his right. Beating an inert Shupp, who misjudged the looping header, to the ball, Tracy used his first touch to catch the ball on one hop and nail a low right-footer just inside the right post from 15 yards away for a 2-0 advantage with 7:19 remaining.
"That was another free kick. We practice those a lot in practice," Tracy said, "My number one job is to head it across. Luckily, that time Zack Schilawski happened to be in the right spot. He did a great job of heading the ball back into space."
Tracy might have had a hat trick, but Aigner made a sensational diving save to his right on his blast targeted for the left corner of the net in the 21st minute.
"This was a great result against a very good team in Virginia Tech," WFU coach Jay Vidovich said. "Everybody knows we're very familiar with each other, throughout the season playing against each other. It was a very good game. In the second half, I think the guys really rose to the challenge. We asked them to win some critical moments and they put more of a stamp on the game. We got too stretched out in the first half."
Tech desperately fought back and probably should have been awarded a penalty kick with five minutes remaining. Junior striker Robert Edmans ran past WFU freshman defender Ike Opara to get to a long bouncing pass that Wake senior back Julian Valentin failed to clear. Valentin grabbed Edmans from behind to prevent him from getting off a good shot before senior goalkeeper Brian Edwards arrived, but no call was forthcoming.
Tech wasted a free kick from the top left of the penalty area with 3:35 on the clock. Then, with 98 seconds remaining, defender Marcus Reed skied and sent a header from the top of the box off the crossbar after Edwards was caught too far of his goal-line. With that, the Hokies' hopes expired.
"In retrospect, the better team won tonight," VT coach Oliver Weiss said. "Wake Forest did enough to get the goal that decides the game in our sport. They played great defense and toughed it out. When you score goals and play great defense, you have a chance to win the game."
Tech squandered a prime opportunity to go ahead in the 13th minute. Junior forward Patrick Nyarko beat a defender to run onto a long pass, then sidestepped Edwards who had charged out of his box. Nyarko stumbled as he caught up to the ball in the right side of the box, allowing Edwards to retreat, but then laid a perfect centering pass in front of the charging Edmans. Eight yards from the center of the net and with Edwards out of the picture, Edmans was a step late getting to the ball and drove his left-footer far over the crossbar.
The Hokies did not have another chance as good until they trailed by two. "The ball was way ahead of me," Nyarko said. "When I went around the goalie. I lost my step and tripped and got back up. By the time I looked up, there were two defenders in the goal. When I got the ball and tried to attack, I saw a different look this time. They always had me covered and they didn't give me the outside. "
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