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Wake Forest Defeats Denver in Double Overtime to Earn Berth in National Championship Game

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The Deacs are one win away from a national championship!

Dean Shore

The Wake Forest men’s soccer team will play for the national title! It took Wake Forest 103 minutes and 2 overtimes, but Ian Harkes’ breakaway goal in the second overtime proved to be the golden goal that sent Wake Forest to the national championship game. The Deacs will face the winner of Stanford vs. North Carolina on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET.

Jon Bakero got things started for the Deacs in the 7th minute with a beautiful goal from 25 yards out. Denver answered just 10 minutes later, however. Wake Forest’s back line was beaten over the top. Alec Ferrell, who returned to action after missing the previous four games due to injury, made the initial save, but Andre Shinyashiki scored on the put back.

Wake Forest had some excellent chances in the second half, and took 10 shots, but the teams remained tied at the end of regulation. Ricky Greensfelder nearly scored in the final minutes for Wake Forest, but a Denver center back was able to make the clearance.

The Deacs dominated play in both overtime periods, and did not allow Denver to attempt a shot. For the game, Wake Forest out shot Denver, 18-7. Harkes’ goal was set up after Denver had a poor play out of a corner kick. Ema Twumasi, who was the hero in the Elite 8 against Virginia Tech, intercepted the pass, then made an underrated pass to Jon Bakero in space. Bakero used his beautiful footwork to beat a defender, and then Wake Forest had a 2-on-1 fastbreak alongside Ian Harkes. There aren’t many duos in college soccer I’d rather have. Harkes fired away from just inside the penalty box. For Wake Forest fans it felt like the ball was rolling forever, and I wondered if it would trickle wide, but it had enough force behind it to propel Wake Forest to the national championship game.

One more. Bring it home, Deacs!