The Wake Forest Demon Deacons (5-4-1) got back on track Tuesday at Spry, thrashing the William & Mary Tribe (3-5) by a 4-0 scoreline. The Tribe never got out of the blocks here, with Wake dominating the possession, winning the overwhelming majority of the second balls, and forcing William & Mary into bad turnovers in their own end trying to play out of the back. It never felt that Wake were in any danger, and they coasted to a win at home to get back over .500 going into a huge road clash in Chapel Hill this weekend. It was the Deacs’ best performance so far this season, albeit against much weaker opposition, but it was an encouraging game nonetheless.
Wake got off to a hot start, keeping William & Mary locked in their own half and getting a couple of early chances, with an Omar Hernandez curler from the top of the box going over the bar in the 5th minute and Garrison Tubbs seeing his 10th minute effort from a tight angle just outside the six yard box after a corner deflected away by Alfredo Bozalongo. The Tribe held out for as long as they could but would eventually buckle in the 15th minute, as Hosei Kijima would set up Omar Hernandez 25 yards out, with Hernandez bending one on goal that keeper Connor Andrews seemed to see late, as it nestled into the back of the net as he stood stationary. It was unimpressive goalkeeping and defending from the Tribe, but it was enough to put Wake ahead and finally see Omar Hernandez return to the scoresheet.
The Deacs would continue dominating, and could have doubled their lead when Kyle Holcomb got on the end of a Colin Thomas cross in the 23rd minute, but he would put his full volley side footed attempt over the crossbar from a tight angle. The lead would be doubled before half however, as William & Mary looked to build out of the back in the 40th minute. The Deacs came up to press and got their reward, with an ugly pass from Connor Andrews to Theo Biddle being taken the other way by Chase Oliver, who had an easy ball to give across the six yard box to Roald Mitchell, who would roof it from close range to double the Deac advantage and register his first collegiate goal. With the halftime buzzer sounding 5 minutes later, Wake would take a commanding 2-0 lead into the break, one they deserved after absolutely dominating the first 45.
The second half was not much better for the Tribe, with Wake still dominating proceedings. They’d find a third goal in the 55th minute, with a gorgeous early ball from Garrison Tubbs finding the head of Kyle Holcomb who snuck between Cole Knapp and Zachary Hosseinian and would smack it down into the ground and into the net off the bounce. The game felt well and truly over after that goal, but just to put the nail in the coffin Wake added another one in the 61st minute, as the Deacs would score a beautiful team goal, with 7 Wake players touching the ball before Kyle Holcomb would receive it with his back to goal from Omar Hernandez, and then send it back through to him on his left foot, with Hernandez stroking it into the bottom corner to make it 4-0.
Wake wouldn’t score another goal in this contest, but they did continue to dominate and create chances. Chase Oliver almost added the fifth goal in the 64th minute after a one-two with Omar Hernandez sent him in on goal, but his initial shot was saved by Andrews, and his rebound would hit the wrong side of the side netting. The Tribe would get a half chance in the 70th minute, as a through ball from Diba Nwegbo gave Alex Levengood a chance to drive one on goal from a wide angle, but his effort was a tame one that Cole McNally swallowed up easily. They’d have a penalty shout a couple of minutes later when an Alex Levengood touch off of a cross from Nathan Messier bounced up into the arm of Prince Amponsah, but the official deemed Amponsah’s arm to be in a natural position and waved to play on despite the protestations of the William & Mary players. Wake would get another couple of chances before the 90 minutes were up, as in the 77th minute Roald Mitchell set up Julian Kennedy with a shot on the left side of the box, but his effort was parried away by Andrews. David Wrona, who made his return from injury this game, would get a chance in the 85th minute to add a fifth goal, as Oscar Sears played a short ball from a set piece to Colin Thomas, who swung in a cross on his left foot. Wrona got his head to it at the front post and made great contact, but it went just wide of the frame. In the end, the final score was 4-0, with Wake running riot against the Tribe and deservedly coming out as big winners.
Man of the match in this game, for me, was Omar Hernandez, who returned to his Spring 2021 form, looking dangerous every time he was on the ball, setting up teammates for good chances and putting two away himself. There were a few other players that I thought were magnificent, with Kyle Holcomb, Chase Oliver, Garrison Tubbs, and Hosei Kijima all having standout performances, but really every player put in a good shift. All in all, it was a bounce back game for the Deacs, and they’ll be eager to continue their momentum in Chapel Hill.
The Deacs return to action Friday at 7:00 at Dorrance Field, home of the North Carolina Tar Heels. They come back to Spry next Tuesday for a 7:00 kickoff against George Washington.