It is certainly disappointing to see Riley Skinner play his last game at BB&T Field in a loss, but I am proud that I was able to be there to cheer him on one more time. Skinner is the kind of player a school only sees a handful of times and I was very lucky to enter school in 2005 at the same time as him and the rest of the senior Demon Deacons.
There were other ups and downs last week. The field hockey team lost a misleading 4-1 final in the NCAA quarterfinals against UNC. The Deacs had more shots and corner kicks than the Tar Heels, but were unable to convert enough opportunities to continue their march to a championship at Kentner Field.
The women’s soccer team had a rock-solid week, capped off with a 3-0 win over West Virginia, in route to their first third round NCAA appearance since 1999. Senior Jill Hutchinson recorded the 36th goal of her career in the victory and the Deacs earned their 14th shutout of the year. They will take on No. 8 South Carolina on Friday.
After taking apart Mars Hill in their exhibition, the Lady Deacs had another dominating win, defeating Jacksonville State, 64-47. Freshman Sandra Garcia had a very impressive debut, with 22 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks. Sophomore Secily Ray added a double-double of her own. The Demon Deacons will take on USF on Nov. 18 at the Joel.
There aren’t many more exciting things in sports than penalty kicks, but unfortunately for the Wake Forest men's soccer team, being on the wrong end of PKs is just as difficult to stomach as any other loss.
In the semifinals, Wake and Virginia played a classic ACC match past the second overtime. The penalty kicks were even until sudden death, as Virginia converted but Andy Lubahn was unable to send it home. Virginia ultimately won the title as goalkeeper Diego Restrepo was named MVP of the tournament.
The Deacs will learn their NCAA opponent and seeding on Monday at 5:30 p.m. on ESPNEWS.
In a season of what-ifs for the Demon Deacons, Wake Forest lost a shootout on senior day to Seminoles. The Deacs had their second best rushing game of the season with 227 yards and had 454 yards of total offense, but could not get enough stops defensively against Florida State.
E.J. Manuel, in his first career start after replacing Christian Ponder, was 15 of 22 for 220 yards and added 45 rushing yards. On the other side, Riley Skinner, playing his last home game of his career, had two touchdowns and two interceptions. He tied the school record for single-season touchdowns at 21 in the loss.
Down 31-7 after a return touchdown by Greg Reid, the Demon Deacons woke up and were able to cut the lead down to 31-21 in the third quarter. The ‘Noles’ offense was just too much for the Deacs and they ultimately fell 41-28. Fittingly, Riley Skinner was able to complete the last pass at Groves Field for a touchdown in the back of the end zone.
Wake has their bye week this week and will finish the season in Durham to take on Duke on Nov. 28.
It seems as though the team was missing basketball as much as fans were. In two dominating performances, Wake Forest started their season out 2-0 behind sophomore sensation Al-Farouq Aminu. Aminu, who returned this year after speculation that he would leave for the draft along with James Johnson and Jeff Teague, had a pair of 20+ point performances against Oral Roberts and ECU.
Despite poor shooting, especially beyond the arc, the Deacs were able to establish the type of game that they will try to play all year in the two wins—rebounding, solid defense, and points in the paint.
A nice surprise was the play of newcomers Ari Stewart, CJ Harris and Konner Tucker. Stewart and Harris played well in both games and Tucker made both of his threes on Sunday.
Wake will return to the Joel to take on High Point on Wednesday at 8 p.m.
Tracking commits is always fun, but it is a lot easier to get excited after they have signed on the dotted line. Wake Forest received five of those signatures when J.T. Terrell, Travis McKie, Melvin Tabb, Tony Chennault and Carson Desrosiers officially committed to the Demon Deacons last week. The five was ranked the ninth best class in the country, with Chennault the only player ranked outside the top 100.
On the football front, a week after Antonio Ford committed, West Forsyth High School’s Ben Emert followed. Emert, a Georgia native, was reportedly interested in Wisconsin, Vanderbilt, Georgia Tech and Air Force. The senior, who made up his mind after his unofficial visit, racked up 1,500 yards and 28 touchdowns and is strongly built at 6’1”, 224 pounds.