In a dramatic game at Spry, the sixth ranked Wake Forest Demon Deacons were able to pick up a huge win over the Boston College Eagles to move to 9-2 on the season, and 1-0 in the ACC in the spring season. For Boston College, they fall to 0-1 after leading for almost the entirety of the second half. It was a feisty, physical game throughout, with a lot of jawing between the two teams, so I’m sure that Wake will be even more ecstatic to have found a way to win this one.
Wake came out of the gates hot, nearly opening up the scoring inside of the first three minutes, as an awkward ball into the box from Prince Amponsah was redirected by Jahlane Forbes to a totally unmarked Nico Benalcazar eight yards from goal, but he put he directed his shot at the goalkeeper Christian Garner, who made a leaping save to keep the score tied. Only 5 minutes later would the Deacs open the scoring, however, as Jake Swallen would receive a pass in the middle of the field from Holland Rula, take a great touch beyond a defender before placing a shot on the ground just beyond the reach of Garner, who will likely want to have that one back.
For the rest of the half though, BC was mainly in control. First year head coach Bob Thompson has his team playing with a lot more energy, but still with the same physicality and fight that the team is associated with. They started knocking on the door with 31 to play in the first half, with Kristofer Konradsson hitting a shot from distance that Cole McNally handled a bit awkwardly. A better chance fell to Amos Shapiro-Thompson with 10 to go in the half, as a lofted ball from Alex Mieles found its way right onto his foot, but he couldn’t make good contact and McNally gratefully claimed it. They found their goal 5 minutes later, Kristofer Konradsson delivered an inswinging ball from a free kick that found the head of Stefan Sigurdarson at the front post, who nodded it into an open goal as McNally desperately lunged out to try to get something on the cross. Sigurdarson celebrated his goal by shushing Wake’s fan section behind the goal and jawing with the fans, setting the tone for increased tensions for the remainder of the game.
Wake went into the half tied up and having been dominated for the last 15 minutes of the half, and BC’s domination continued into the second half. In a bizarre looking play, Konradsson picked up a loose ball in the middle of the field and carried it until he was about 25 yards from goal, hitting one along the ground across his body that froze McNally, giving the Eagles a 2-1 lead only 3 minutes into the half. McNally seemed to think that the ball was going wide by the way that he reacted to the shot, but he misjudged it and was beaten.
For the rest of the game, though, Wake was mostly controlling the flow of the game as they searched for an equalizer. A free kick delivery from Swallen found David Wrona at the back post, who could only head it into the ground and back into the arms of Garner with 34 minutes to go. Omar Hernandez saw a shot from inside the 18 blocked away brilliantly by David Longo 5 minutes later. Oscar Sears saw a shot from the top of the 18 trickle just wide after a deflection by Victor Souza. David Wrona had a golden chance to even the score with 17 left in the game, receiving the ball in behind the BC defense from Swallen, cutting back beyond Wil Jacques, but ultimately curling his left footed effort wide.
The Deacs seemed to had exhausted all of their chances in this game, and Boston College had done well in closing the door on them, holding possession well and allowing minimal chances. Wake earned a corner with 5 minutes to go. Omar Hernandez’s initial delivery was headed away by Sigurdarson, but only into the path of Hosei Kijima, who hit it half volley just inside of the near post. With just a minute and half yet, Cristian Escribano sent a ball over the top of the BC defense to David Wrona. Wrona cut it back to the top of the box to Kijima, who just needed to direct it on target with his left foot to give the Deacs a lead they would not relinquish. For Kijima, it was his first two goals in a Wake uniform.
After an emotional 90 minutes, Wake came out on top over a BC team that seems to be on an upward trajectory. As for the man of the match, there is only one choice. While Jake Swallen had a good performance as well, Hosei Kijima is the runaway man of the match here. He played in the middle of the field for the full second half, a position he did not play at regularly during the fall, but he found his bearings in a new spot and contributed the equalizer and the game winner in a key ACC matchup. You can’t ask for much more than that.