After a contest that was a little close for comfort for the Deacs at many points, they ultimately never lost control in a professional 2-0 performance against NC State in Raleigh. Wake moved to 7-1-0 on the season, and 6-1-0 against ACC opponents. They will ride a 4 game win streak into their first ACC Championship Tournament game against UVA November 15th at 4:00. The Wolfpack fell to 0-6-1 and 0-5-1 in conference and haven’t won a game since November 6, 2019. The Deacs had some chances to make this game a rout but didn’t take advantage and allowed State a bit of a chance in this game, but they never looked out of control or in any danger of losing the game.
State applied pressure early on the Deacs and looked like the better team in the first ten minutes. This all came to an abrupt halt, however, when Cristian Escribano found a left footed ball over the defense that was deftly taken down by Kyle Holcomb, who took a lovely touch to bring it down, another to get it out of his feet, and another to round Leon Krapf. He then squared it back to Isaiah Parente, who marked his return to the lineup with his first goal of the season to give the Deacs a one goal lead with 15 minutes off the clock.
Three minutes later, Wake nearly doubled their advantage. Machop Chol won the ball on the right flank, stripping it from Pablo Pedregosa then finding Kyle Holcomb in the middle, who took a nice turn around David Norris who clumsily brought him down in the penalty area for a penalty kick. Holcomb would take it but it would be saved by Krapf low and to his left, keeping the game alive for State. Krapf came to the rescue again a few minutes later after Jake Swallen found Calvin Harris making a run into the box on the left side, deflecting Harris’ lefty shot away from his goal for a corner. Krapf would be forced into another save on a fizzing effort from Isaiah Parente from distance, but the Deacs would enter the half only up a goal, but looking to be in full control.
Coming out of the interval, it was much of the same. After an early Calvin Harris chance went begging NC State had a chance to equalize after Pau Palacin won the ball high up the field and laid it off to George Asomani, whose low powerful effort darted just wide of the post in the 55th minute. Koby Carr nearly extended the lead for Wake moments later when he got on the end of a long ball over the top from Takuma Suzuki on the right flank, then lashing it goalward and off of Krapf’s near post with a frustrating clank.
In the 68th minute the Deacs would go up a man after George Asomani was issued his second booking of the game for a cynical challenge in the middle of the field on Holland Rula, leaving State with ten players. Wake should have doubled their advantage in the minute following when Rula found Calvin Harris behind the State defense, who put a ball across to Kyle Holcomb who had an open goal waiting for him, but couldn’t direct his volley on frame from about ten yards. He would make up for it a few moments later after Omar Hernandez switched the ball to Machop Chol, who beat his man and crossed into the box, where Holcomb rose high above Jamie Smith and directed his header low, off the post, and into the net to make it 2-0.
The Deacs nearly added another a few moments later as Cristian Escribano dribbled past a couple of Wolfpack defenders and pulled the ball back across on the ground, but it would be behind the outstretched legs of several Wake attackers. Wake rotated a few players into the game late and saw out the rest of the game and secured another victory.
For me, I think the only man of the match that you could pick here is Kyle Holcomb. Although he had two frustrating missed chances with the penalty and the close range volley, he really made both goals happen, the first with some excellent close control and dribbling and the second with desire and his athletic ability. I also think that Cristian Escribano had his best game so far as a Demon Deacon and Machop Chol had some excellent moments, but Holcomb stood out the most this game.