Oct. 8, 2016
by Tony Jones
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - A hard-fought Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) home match saw the University of Notre Dame men's soccer team and Wake Forest battle for position throughout a tightly contested Saturday night contest. In the end, the Irish and Demon Deacons fought to a 2-2 conference draw under the lights at Alumni Stadium.
No. 1/2 Notre Dame (9-1-1, 3-1-1 ACC) remained unbeaten at Alumni Stadium in seven starts this season, emerging at 6-0-1 following the tie. Both teams erased one-goal deficits during the match to claim the first conference draws on the ledger for both sides in 2016.
No. 11 Wake Forest (8-2-2, 3-1-1 ACC) struck first following a scrum in front of the Irish net after a Demon Deacon corner kick in the eighth minute. Ema Twumasi gathered a deflection off a Notre Dame defender and buried his third goal of the season from 20 yards out into the left corner at 7:23 for the 1-0 Wake Forest lead.
Notre Dame persevered and found the equalizer in the 39th minute. Oliver Harris jumped a Wake Forest clearance attempt and forwarded on a strong header up the center of the pitch to Mark Gormley. Gormley finished a right-footed flick on the run past goalkeeper Alec Ferrell for his second goal of the year at 38:05, tying the match at 1-1.
The Irish leapt ahead on the scoreboard in the 48th minute. Notre Dame won a free kick on the left of the 18-yard box deep in the Wake Forest third, and the Irish made the most of the chance. Tri-captain Evan Panken lofted a perfect right-footed feed toward the right post, where Brandon Aubrey arrived on the scene with a diving header past Ferrell. Aubrey's eighth goal of the season put Notre Dame ahead 2-1 at 47:55.
Wake Forest would answer in the 67th minute following a strong run from Jacori Hayes. Hayes gathered a through ball in the center of the field from Ian Harkes and drove a left-footed stab inside the left post for his fourth of the year, tying the contest at 2-2 at 66:59.
Both teams had chances to break the deadlock at the end of regulation and overtime periods, with Notre Dame making one final surge in the 101st minute. Panken slipped free down the left wing, but his curling shot was turned aside by Ferrell to hold the score at 2-2.
Notre Dame embarks on a season-long four-game road trip, beginning on Tuesday at Michigan. The 7 p.m. (ET) nonconference match at U-M Soccer Stadium in Ann Arbor is expected to be available on BTN Plus.
Season and single game tickets for the 2016 Notre Dame men's soccer season remain on sale. Visit und.com/BuyTickets or call the Murnane Family Ticket Office at 574-631-7356 for more information or to purchase tickets.
Play of the Game
With the game tied at 1-1, a tri-captain Evan Panken free kick found Brandon Aubrey charging toward the far post with a perfectly placed service in the 48th minute. Aubrey, the ACC's leading defender in scoring (eight goals, 17 points), finished the pass for the second Notre Dame goal in under 10 minutes and the 2-1 Irish advantage.
Dangerous Wake Forest striker Jacori Hayes earned a penalty for his side in the 31st minute following a hard Notre Dame foul inside the box. Teammate Ian Harkes stepped up for the penalty kick attempt, but his shot rang off the left post and out of danger, preventing the Demon Deacons from taking a 2-0 lead. Notre Dame would find an equalizer from Mark Gormley in the 39th minute.
Coach Bobby Clark
Maintaining and playing Notre Dame's game in a fast-paced contest...
"I thought we were playing our game, and I thought we started very well. They did well in the second half and outshot us, although those shots were from very far out. They did score both goals from very far out, but it was good contest. I thought a tie was possibly a fair result because that was a good advert for ACC soccer. Wake Forest is very athletic, and they have a lot of very good players. They play quickly and smartly, very similar to the team they had last year when we played them twice at Wake Forest. They had Jack Harrison, who went to the New York Red Bulls (MLS), and Ema Twumasi is a good substitute for him. He was really good, and scored the first goal."
On responding from the early deficit to take the lead in the second half...
"I was pleased that when we went behind we came back and got in front. I'd have liked not to give up the second goal but they pressed hard to get back in the game. That got them into it in the second half because they had to chase back into the game. In the overtime I thought we were the team that was going to win it, we looked as though we wanted to win it and they looked happy to get out with a tie."
Note of the Game
Notre Dame's last three meetings with Wake Forest (1-1-1) have been settled by one goal or less following Saturday's 2-2 draw.
Tony Jones, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2012 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame softball and men's soccer programs. A native of Jamestown, New York, Jones is a 2011 graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and prior to arriving at Notre Dame held positions at the University of Louisiana Monroe and with the National Football League's Buffalo Bills.