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Fourth-ranked Wake Forest men's soccer team battles to 0-0 tie with N.C. State at Spry Stadium

Fourth-ranked Wake Forest men's soccer team battles to 0-0 tie with N.C. State at Spry Stadium

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Oscar Sears takes the ball upfield for Wake Forest on Saturday night.

Fourth-ranked Wake Forest, missing more of its roster because of injuries, survived its game with N.C. State on Saturday night by battling to a 0-0 tie at Spry Stadium.

Coach Bobby Muuss of the Deacons started six freshmen and — for the first 35 to 40 minutes — their offense generated a few good chances. The Wolfpack found its footing late in the half, and in the second half clamped down even more, with the Deacons not getting a shot off in the second half.

In the two overtime periods, the Deacons had a couple of good chances but ended up settling for the tie.

“It’s not like we sat back, because I think N.C. State thought we are dangerous team. But that’s a veteran team they have, and we have a brand-new team when you consider what we lost from the fall,” Muuss said. “And we had a few injuries going into this match, and had a few more tonight. But I’m proud of the way they fought. They did that last week against Boston College, so we just have to continue to try and get better.”

The Deacons (9-2-1, 1-0-1 ACC) were missing midfielder Takuma Suzuki, forward David Wrona and defender Garrison Tubbs. Midfielder Jake Swallen got banged up late in the first half but came back into the game in the second half. He tried to build an offensive attack, but it never got on track.

The Deacons managed just 10 shots, and goalie Leon Krapf of the Wolfpack (2-7-2, 0-1-1) made three saves in 110 minutes of play.

Goalie Cole McNally of the Deacons wasn’t tested much, facing 11 shots. He was credited with two saves.

“Our guys fought today and the results could have gone the other way,” Muuss said. “In the first 30 minutes we bossed the game. Then we had an injury, it changed some things and we had to adjust with more younger guys. We had two juniors (start) and everybody else, so this is valuable experience that they are getting right now.”

Four field players — Holland Rula, Crisitan Escribano, Prince Amponsah and Nico Benalcazar — played the entire 110 minutes.

Both teams were visibly worn out in the two 10-minute overtime periods.

“I’m never happy with a draw, but we learned a lot about ourselves,” Muuss said. “And everybody who was eligible to play, played because of how long the game went.”

Muuss has a roster of 20 players, but he played four substitutes. Chase Oliver got the most, logging 81 as a forward.

There were plenty of positives coming out of the draw, but Muuss said he’s looking for more improvement as the spring season continues.

“We need to play longer clips of time, like we did the first 35 minutes,” Muuss said. “In this conference you can’t do that, because you have to sustain it much longer because the teams here just keep getting better.”

One of the best scoring chances the Deacons had was at the end of the half. Kyle Holcomb got off a clean shot, but it was stopped by Krapf. On the final corner kick of the first half, with the clock winding down, Benalacazar’s header was just wide as the half ended.

The Deacons picked up a point in the standings with the tie.

“Like I told these guys, you can’t be arrogant and be mad that you got a point in the ACC,” Muuss said. “We’re happy that we got a point in the end, but we wanted three.”

Notes: With strict attendance guidelines in place because of the pandemic, only about 25 fans are allowed on Walt Chyzowych Alumni Hill. But outside the ropes on the sidewalk on Polo Road, there were around 150 fans watching the game. Official attendance was listed as 350 in Spry Stadium, which seats around 3,000…. The Deacons will hit the road for the first time this spring playing at Notre Dame on Saturday…. The Deacons’ final home game of the spring is set for March 27 at 7 p.m. against Louisville.

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@johndellWSJ

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