The Wake Forest Men’s Soccer team is seeking its second national championship in ten years (2007) this weekend, as they head to Houston, Texas to compete in the College Cup. This is the Demon Deacons fifth appearance in the College Cup, but first since 2009 (the final of four straight trips).
In order to get back to the championship game for the first time since 2007, the second seeded Deacs (18-3-2) will take on the sixth seeded Denver Pioneers (20-0-3).
The tournament is being played at BBVA Compass Stadium, home of the Houston Dynamo (MLS). It will air at 6 PM (EST) on ESPNU, followed by the other semifinal of UNC vs. Stanford shortly after.
The winner of tonight’s game will face the winner of the fifth seeded Stanford Cardinal (14-3-4), and the ninth seeded North Carolina Tar Heels (14-3-3) on Sunday at 2 PM.
This is the first ever meeting between Denver and Wake Forest.
While many on here may not be familiar with the Pios, they are absolutely nothing to sneeze at, as they have lost one game in the past two years, and that was to SMU in the second round of the NCAA Tournament last year.
This year the Pios 15-0-3 in the regular season, tying Omaha, Creighton, and Monmouth, before winning the Summit League Tournament and reeling off three straight wins in the NCAA Tournament. The final win of the three came last week in a 1-0 thriller in the 89th minute to knock out the third seeded Clemson Tigers in Death Valley.
Wake Forest finished the regular season 12-2-3, but are undefeated in its last 12 games, dating back to a 1-0 loss at Clemson. The Deacs defeated Virginia Tech relatively easy last weekend by a score of 2-0 in a very chippy game.
An interesting storyline to follow is the relationship between Wake Forest head coach Bobby Muuss, and Denver head coach Jamie Franks. Muuss was an assistant coach for Wake Forest from 2001-2007 and recruited Jamie Franks to come play for the Deacs. Muuss went on to become the head coach of Denver in 2008, and hired Jamie Franks as an assistant coach after he was a video assistant at Wake for two seasons after he graduated.
After Muuss took over for Jay Vidovich after the 2014 season, Jamie Franks was promoted to head coach at Denver. The two coaches have combined for a 70-6-11 record the past two seasons, while Franks has yet to lose in the regular season.
Needless to say, these two coaches know each other extremely well, and it will be fun to watch two squads that are so closely aligned playing each other. Make no mistake though, both squads are hungry to reach the Championship.
This will more than likely be a defensive minded battle, as Wake Forest has allowed just 11 goals through 23 games, while Denver has allowed 10 goals through 23 games.
If you live down in the Houston area then get out there and support the Deacs, as I’m sure Denver will have a decent contingent of fans given their (slightly) closer geographic location to Houston.