The Wake Forest men’s soccer team has a rich tradition, but on Sunday the program achieved something it hadn’t done since 1989. Wake Forest defeated Clemson 3-1 and in doing so won the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship for the first time since 1989. This tournament is exceptionally difficult to win, and proof of that is that Wake Forest won the NCAA Championship in 2007, but was not able to win the ACC Championship that same year.
Ian Harkes started things off for the Deacs in the 24th minute with an excellent ball from the top of the box. Just six minutes later Jacori Hayes scored a goal to give the Deacs a 2-0 lead one-third of the way through the contest. The Deacs maintained an aggressive style and Steven Echevarria cleaned up a deflection in the 43rd minute to give Wake Forest a 3-0 lead at the half.
Ian Harkes is dominating every single aspect of this game. What a performance. #ACCMSoccer— Matthew Doyle (@MLSAnalyst) November 13, 2016
Wake Forest’s biggest strength this season has been defense, and the team was able to play beautifully with the lead in the second half. Clemson answered with of a goal of its own in the 67th minute after a penalty kick by Aaron Jones, but that was the only blemish that Wake Forest allowed in this contest.
Wake Forest won a number of ACC accolades this year. Bobby Muuss was named ACC Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season, while Ian Harkes was named Midfielder of the Year, and Harkes, Jacori Hayes, and Alec Ferrell all made 1st-team All-ACC. All played an integral role in today’s game, and are major reasons why Wake has had such a special season.
Wake Forest will find out its NCAA Tournament fate on Monday at 1 p.m. during the selection show. Maryland will likely be the #1 seed, but Wake Forest should be a very high seed and will have an excellent chance of getting to the College Cup.
It’s a great day to be a Deacon!