After a 1-0 victory over Davidson on Monday at Spry, the Wake Forest Demo Deacons will open up their ACC spring season, playing hosts to Boston College Saturday night at 7:00 PM. This will be Boston College’s first game of the season, as they elected not to participate in the fall soccer season.
The Deacs come into this one carrying a 9-6-3 all time record against BC, with their most recent game being a loss in Boston, by a score of 2-1. It was a brutal night for the Deacs, who just could not find a way to break through BC’s mid block while the Eagles converted the few chances that they had to get a huge win. Last season, BC finished with a 9-6-3 mark and earned an NCAA Tournament berth, defeating Yale 3-0 before succumbing to the University of Washington Huskies in Seattle by a score of 2-1. They posted a 2-5-1 road record last season, not winning any road ACC matchups. The Demon Deacons are 5-1 at home this season and haven’t lost a regular season home game since a 1-0 defeat to Notre Dame in their regular season finale.
Boston College is a team that primarily creates through counter attacks. They look to spring their wide players into space in order to create, relying on their center forwards to finish the crosses and cutbacks that the wingers supply if they don’t go to goal themselves. Defensively, they sit in a mid block and don’t press very aggressively, with all four of their defenders staying home for the most part. Although this style has not always been effective against Wake, BC was resolute last season looked dangerous almost every time they got the ball, which was not often, as the Deacs continued to commit numbers forward, and were punished. Wake has shown its ability this year to find ways through mid and low blocks; they are a patient and possession oriented team, but they still face a tough challenge against a team that, this season, is still an unknown.
Ones to Watch
#23 Stefan Sigurdarson (FW): As a freshman, Sigurdarson showed himself to be a star. He finished the season with 8 goals and 4 assists, good for 20 points, which led the team. With 7 goals and 2 assists in his last 9 games, including both against Wake in their meeting last season, Sigurdarson got hot to end the year and will be looking to carry his momentum into this year. He was named to the All-ACC Freshman and Third teams. To put it simply, he is a big guy who knows how to use his body, has a decent touch, and is a great finisher. Teams like BC are built on the shoulders of forwards like him, guys that will take the few chances they’re given and put them in the goal.
#11 Michael Suski (MF): Another talented freshman from last year’s team, Suski will likely be even more key to BC’s hopes of a result Saturday than Sigurdarson. Suski is their main midfield creative option, playing on both wings and finding chances for himself and his forwards. He was second on the team in points with 12 (4 goals and 4 assists), including the assist on Sigurdarson’s game winner. He is the kind of player that a team like this needs, one that can carry the ball forward, take players on, put in a good cross, or shoot for himself. With the large gaps that can form behind Wake’s fullbacks, who will be bombing forward at any opportunity, Suski could be a danger.
#23 Nico Benalcazar (DF): With Garrison Tubbs’ health in question for this game after coming off in the first half against Davidson, Benalcazar will have to step up in a huge way to deal with Sigurdarson. Benalcazar has been a revelation for the Deacs alongside Tubbs this season, but he needs to show his ability to handle a difficult physical matchup in this game. Last year he and Michael DeShields struggled to contain Sigurdarson, who seemed to keep finding and creating little spaces for himself in the box. For the Deacs to go on and win this one, he will likely need to step up and have a great performance.
#14 Jahlane Forbes (MF/DF): After an excellent game on Monday against Davidson, it appears that Wake has found its new starting left winger. After splitting time with Holland Rula at left back in the fall, the freshman found himself playing on the wing ahead of Rula, with the two showing great chemistry and Forbes showing excellent attacking instincts, sealing a strong outing with the game winning goal. If he can put on another strong display Saturday on the wing, it would seem that Wake has found their Calvin Harris replacement.
The Deacs don’t carry the same star-studded roster that they had at the beginning of the fall season, but they will still be looking to show the ACC that they haven’t lost a step even in spite of their key departures. With a win over a solid Boston College team, Wake will send that message.