Syracuse men’s soccer opponent preview: What to know about No. 2 Wake Forest

first_imgAfter its four-game winless streak, No. 6 Syracuse (10-3-2, 3-2-2 Atlantic Coast) has not lost in its last three games. Two of which have come against top-15 teams, including a 1-0 win over then-No. 15 Virginia Tech and a scoreless tie at then-No. 8 Clemson. The Orange wraps up its regular season slate against second-ranked Wake Forest (12-2-2, 5-1-1) Friday at SU Soccer Stadium at 7 p.m.SU sits in fourth place in the ACC Atlantic division standings, after Clemson, Louisville and first-place Wake Forest. If UofL and Clemson tie on Friday or Clemson loses and Syracuse beats Wake Forest, the Orange will move up to third in the division and fourth in the conference. The ACC tournament kicks off on Wednesday and SU would have a first-round bye if it finishes top four in the conference.If the Orange loses or ties WFU, it would host the first round on Wednesday. A Syracuse win over the Demon Deacons could also mean home-field advantage throughout the NCAA tournament, if SU receives one of the top four seeds.“This game probably has more at stake beyond the ACC than it does initially in terms of two top-10 teams going at it,” Wake Forest head coach Bobby Muuss said.Here’s what you need to know ahead of the matchup between Syracuse and WFU.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAll-time series: Wake Forest leads, 3-1Last time they played: The Orange fell to the then-No. 7 Demon Deacons, 3-1, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina last September. A Julian Buescher free kick set up a Miles Robinson header less than six minutes into the game, but Wake Forest countered with three unanswered goals to seal the win.The Wake Forest report: During WFU’s four-game win streak, opponents have scored only once. Wake Forest, which boasts one of the nation’s top defenses, has been shut out only three times all year. Its 0.63 shutout percentage ranks sixth in the country.“We’re not the most prolific goal-scoring team, so we got to make sure we’re stingy defensively,” Muuss said.The Demon Deacons and Orange have five common opponents. Both SU and Wake Forest tallied wins over Boston College and North Carolina State. Syracuse tied Clemson, while Wake Forest lost to the Tigers, 1-0. Both Louisville and Notre Dame handed SU losses. The Demon Deacons beat UofL, 2-1, and tied UND, 2-2.Six Wake Forest players have scored two or more goals, and four have notched three or more.How Syracuse beats Wake Forest: It’s no secret that when Syracuse scores in the first half, it wins. If SU can penetrate the defense and capitalize on a Wake Forest mistake, it can win the game. Even a tie, which means one point toward the standings, would help SU in ACC tournament and NCAA tournament seeding.The Demon Deacons’ back four of Logan Gdula, Hunter Bandy, Sam Raben and Kevin Politz is legit. The seasoned unit combined for 98 starts — before this season even started. In goal, third-year full-time starter and redshirt senior Alec Ferrell has posted 21 career shutouts.Stat to know:0.43 — Wake Forest’s goals-against average, second best in the country.Player to watch: Jacori Hayes, midfielder, No. 8Hayes, a 5-foot-7, 150-pound senior, leads Wake Forest in goals (five) and points (12). The Demon Deacons’ top offensive threat earned First Team All-ACC honors, ACC Championship All-Tournament Team and Second Team NSCAA All-South Region honors a year ago. A two-year captain, Hayes scored five game-winning goals last year, one of which came in the ACC tournament quarterfinal. He also played on the United States Men’s Under-18 National Team and was named to the All-ACC freshman team. Comments Published on October 26, 2016 at 9:06 pm Contact Matthew: [email protected] | @MatthewGut21 Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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