Wake Forest 2, Wakefield 1
Story and photos by Marty Simpkins
RALEIGH — For the first time since the spring of 2012, Wake Forest’s girls soccer team beat Wakefield in a 2-1 overtime win at Wakefield Monday.
This was also the first time Wake Forest head coach Jeremiah Mattingly beat Wakefield in his tenure with the Cougars.
"It was all sheer guts and determination tonight," Mattingly said. "My hat’s off to Wakefield. They played really well. Wakefield should have had more goals than they did. We hung on and that’s the determination of these girls. We used it to squeak out a win."
Wakefield scored the first goal of the game when Morgan Nanni kicked the ball from the left side of the field and into the side of the net to make it 1-0.
Wake Forest tied the game off of a free kick from Maddie Riley. The junior kicked the ball from 10 yards outside the penalty box and into the top of the net, tying the match at 1-1.
It’s the first time this season Wakefield allowed a goal scored against them. Once the Cougars scored, a new energy surrounded the team, changing the atmosphere and the momentum.
Neither team scored a goal in the second half, sending the match to overtime.
With 10 seconds left in the first overtime period, Wake Forest’s Hannah Dion scored a goal to take their first lead of the game. The sophomore out-maneuvered three Wakefield defenders, plus the goalkeeper, and kicked the ball into the open net.
"I was just thinking, ‘I have to make this,’" Dion said. "That was the only thought going through my head."
Wakefield had a chance to tie the game in the second overtime period, but missed shots and a tough defense from Wake Forest prevented them from getting that chance.
The Cougars held on to win and all the players cheered and jumped for joy when the referee blew the final whistle.
"This win feels incredible," Dion said. "Last season, we lost to them in overtime, so it kind of felt like this win is going to give our season a push for upcoming games."
Dion’s goal in the first overtime period proved to be the game-winner.
"Hannah is the X-factor for us," Mattingly said. "She goes so hard. Her natural speed and talent stands out. As much as other coaches prepare for her, she’s just too fast and too difficult to stop."
For Wakefield, this is the first time head coach C.J. Komons has lost to Wake Forest.
"I’m not going to take anything away from Wake Forest," Komons said. "They played very hard. Jeremiah is coaching them well and what they did worked. I do think we could have done better."
Wakefield entered the game with an unbeaten record at 6-0-1. They also have not allowed a goal scored against them while scoring 29 in seven games. The loss to their rival ends their unbeaten and goalless streak.
"We tried to stay compact on Wakefield’s offense," Mattingly said. "We knew they were going to have three forwards, so we had to make sure we handled them and put pressure on them. For the first 20 minutes of the game, we did not do a good job of that, but after we pressured them, we countered."
With the win, the Cougars improved to 5-2 and notched their first conference win of the season. Wake Forest is also still undefeated on the road at 4-0.
"These girls have desire and attitude," Mattingly said. "Last year, we had some good players, but we didn’t have that cohesiveness. The girls get along and they want to work hard for each other."
Last year, the record was flipped for Wake Forest at 2-5 in their first seven games. Dion said there’s been a change to this team for the better.
"We’re finally working as a team," Dion said. "We’re communicating and giving each other great passes."
Wakefield will try to rebound from their first loss of the season when they play Broughton at home April 5 at 6:30 p.m.
"We need to be mentally tougher," Komons said. "You have to outwork the opponent."
Wake Forest’s next game is at home against Leesville Road April 5 at 6 p.m.