It's finally here. After what seems like a month of waiting, Wake will take on UVA for the third time this season in Cary for the chance to play in the National Championship against the winner of the UNC-Akron game.
UVA has had the Deacs' number lately and swept both meetings this season. But as well all know, beating a team three times in a season does not happen that often. Wake lost 1-0 in the regular season and on penalty kicks in the ACC Tournament, so a close, well-fought match should be expected. And the fact that Wake Forest should have a strong crowd of supporters making the trip from Winston-Salem shouldn't hurt.
The Demon Deacons lost a lot the last two seasons, but Jav Vidovich has recruited his tail off and the team was still stacked--they're reloading like a big-time football team it seems like. And that shows with this year's incredible senior class of Corbin Bone, Akira Fitzgerald, Austin da Luz and Zach Schilawski. da Luz has 27 points, 15 assists and six goals and Schilawski leads the team with 14 goals, 35 points and seven assists. Freshman Andy Lubahn is phenom, entering the match with 10 goals.
Wake uses a balanced attack and plays very disciplined soccer. They don't take unnecessary risks, but keep pressure on the defense with solid shots. Fitzgerald has come up big in a lot of games; he's third in the ACC with .66 goals average and has 8 shutouts.
Virginia is led by Will Bates, who has 12 goals and was on the All-ACC second team. Their last championship came in 1994 and have not allowed a goal through the NCAAs. Both Wake and Virginia are 17-3-3. Although both teams have scorers, I still expect this thing to be around a 1-0, 1-1 or even scoreless affair into overtime.
Wake wants to avenge their loss last year to UNC in the Final Four, and there is no better way to do that than by making it back to the title game with UNC as their possible opponent.