by Becky Kimbrell-Norris
WAKEFIELD— Considering the beginning, Wakefield’s 3-2 soccer win against Wake Forest Monday is just a glimpse of what is possible.
There was good for the Wolverines, 3-4 overall and 2-1 in the Cap 8, especially in the first half where they were tenacious and creating opportunities at will.
There was also okay in the game that never quite got away from the Wolverines as they controlled the tempo throughout the first half but was out dictated in the second half.
“We came out strong and I was very pleased with that,” said Wakefield soccer coach C J Komons. “Obviously I was happy with the result, but I was not pleased with our second half play. We simply got out worked in the second half.”
The game was really a tale of two halves. Wake Forest, 5-3, 1-2, had no answer for Wakefield in the early going but they did use the break to rally and reorganize to come out and play differently in the second half.
“My hats off to Wakefield as they took it to us early,” said Wake Forest coach Jeremiah Mattingly. “We came out flat and that was the difference in the game.”
“But I was pleased with our second half play,” Mattingly added. “We got down by three goals but we stepped it up in the second half and played with more intensity.”
The game was not even one minute old when Santiago Zapita immediately took the ball inside the net, giving Wakefield an early 1-0 lead.
About six minutes later, Zapita upped the Wolverines advantage again when he scored his second goal.
What was clear was that Wakefield was potent in attacking and deployed a multitude of opportunities in the first half.
After missing a couple of scoring chances, the Wolverines Chris Zografos fired a shot from outside the box onto goal at the 15:08 mark, extending Wakefield’s lead to 3-0.
The Cougars offense finally broke through about a minute later when Meade Baskerville found the back of the net from about ten yards out.
Wake Forest attempted two more shots towards the end of the half and both were close.
The Cougars refocused efforts resulted in a breakaway at the 12:35 mark after halftime.
Andrew Mangeni was at the right place at the right time when he found inside the net to pull Wake Forest within one goal at 3-2.
After surrendering a lot of initiative in the first half, the Cougars began to control the ball and their defense tightened too.
Wake Forest kept the pressure on in the second half and continually pestered the Wolverines defense with keen runs and shots before time ran out on their options.
Both coaches said they knew the game would be an intense one, but not just because the schools are cross-town rivals.
“Any time you play a Cap 8 conference rival, it’s going to be a tough game,” Komons said. “Every conference match is going to be a battle.”
Mattingly agreed saying he knew the game with Wakefield would not be an easy one.
“I knew it would be a difficult game,” he said. “That is why the kids have to learn to play 80 minutes, not 60 or 70 minutes in order for us to win games.”
“And the passion must be there too to be successful,” Mattingly added.
The Wolverines had 14 shots at goal with five of those from Zapita. Wakefield’s goalkeeper Dylan Scherr was credited with seven saves.
“Things are starting to come together for us,” Komons said. “Our work ethic is very high and I’m pleased with that.”
“If we can stop making mistakes in critical parts of the field,” Komons added, “then we should continue to see progress.”
Wake Forest will play at Leesville Road on Monday for another Cap 8 Conference match-up while the Wolverines will travel to Smithfield today (Thursday) for a non-conference meeting with Smithfield Selma High School.