The Demon Deacons competed against both the weather and the Blazers as they cruised to a 3-0 victory in the pouring rain against Jeff Kinney’s UAB. They entered this game as prohibitive favorites and left no doubt as to why, dominating proceedings throughout the game. Two late first half goals gave them a lead they would never relinquish, then putting in another goal in the second half for good measure.
UAB was able to limit Wake’s ability to play out of their defense through the first half hour of the match, but eventually were caught in transition with 9 minutes left in the first half in a play that Garrison Tubbs started and David Wrona ended, as Tubbs’ ball out of defense found Wrona, who laid it off to Isaiah Parente in the middle of the field, who switched the field to Freshman Collin Thomas, who registered his first college assist when native Alabaman David Wrona tapped in his cross for his second goal of the year.
Wrona would soon add his third on the season and double the Deacon advantage about 4 minutes later, winning the ball on a poor throw in from UAB defender Sumner Richardson, then running at the Blazers center backs, before cutting onto his right foot and lashing a shot just beyond the reach of Caelan Whitehead. He nearly completed a first half hat trick 40 seconds later, poking a Cristian Escribano cross goalward, only for it to be saved by the outstretched leg of Whitehead.
The Deacons went into the half up two goals and continued to dominate in the second half. Wrona nearly completed his hat trick again in a wild sequence 6 minutes in, as Machop Chol saw his shot saved by Whitehead and pop out to Parente, whose errant touch rolled to the feet of UAB’s Teodor Thorvaldsen. He tried to clear the ball, but ripped it right into a leaping Isaiah Parente, popping the ball up in the air for David Wrona to head towards the net with Whitehead caught in no man’s land. But Krenar Krasniqi denied Wrona with a goal line clearance.
The Deacs would not be held off for long, however, as Calvin Harris would find the net with 25 minutes to go. Jake Swallen won the ball in the Blazers’ half, leaving it for Isaiah Parente, who passed it to Calvin Harris. Harris trapped the ball with his right foot, turned and set himself up for a shot with the left, and unleashed a shot that nestled into the upper corner of the net from 25 yards out. All Whitehead could do was swipe at it as it sailed over him, as many of Harris’ teammates looked on in disbelief.
Although Nico Benalcazar nearly added another about 10 minutes later on a corner on a header that was deflected wide, and UAB were nearly able to put one on the board in a scramble between four players just outside of the six yard box, neither team would score for the remainder of the match. The final score was a comfortable 3-0 win for the Deacons.
This game allowed for many of Wake’s underutilized players to show their value to the team, and they did. Collin Thomas got his first college point and looked dangerous throughout the game. Oscar Sears looked sharp in the time that he was able to play. The player who took greatest advantage of this game, however, was David Wrona.
Wrona, for my money, was Man of the Match in this contest, and is gaining a reputation for being a hard working, physical, and lethal forward. Wrona’s best qualities shone through in a big way in this game. He showed his ability to get in behind defenses, play with his back to goal, win balls in the air, finish chances, and work like a mule every second he was on the field. The second goal was a perfect encapsulation of what David Wrona is at his best. With his brace today, he also moves into the joint lead for top scorer on the team, tied with Kyle Holcomb.
The Deacs will face their biggest test of the season so far in their next game, travelling to South Carolina on Tuesday to face Clemson in a clash of two of the top teams in the ACC. Kickoff is slated for 7:00 PM.