Wake Forest Wins First-Ever ACC Women's Soccer Championship

Nov. 7, 2010

CARY, N.C. – Wake Forest goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe made three saves on Maryland penalty kicks as the fifth-seeded Demon Deacons claimed their first-ever Atlantic Coast Conference Women’s Soccer Championship Sunday afternoon at WakeMed Soccer Park.

The game was tied at 1-1 at the end of the second overtime period, sending the championship game to penalty kicks for the first time since 2004 and just the third time in the tournament’s 23-year history. After both teams made their first penalty kick, tournament MVP Bledsoe knocked down the next three Maryland attempts while Katie Stengel and Bianca D’Agostino nailed their PKs for Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons earned the championship, 3-1 on penalty kicks, over second-seeded Maryland.

Both teams had their chances late in the game. Wake Forest had two shots in the 73rd minute, but Jackie McSally’s header hit the crossbar and Maryland goalkeeper Yewande Balogun recorded a save on Jackie Logue’s follow-up attempt. Stengel’s shot just more than a minute later was off the mark, as Maryland survived the late barrage.

The Terrapins also had their opportunities, controlling the ball through most of the overtime periods. Maryland outshot Wake Forest 2-0 in the first overtime and took the first shot of the second overtime period. Maryland also had two corner kicks after regulation, but the Demon Deacons played stingy defense around the net and the Terrapins were unable to capitalize.

The scoring all came early in the match on the chilly afternoon. Ashley Grove put Maryland on top when she took a feed from Lydia Hastings and Domenica Hodak and found the back of the net at the 4:02 mark. Her running shot from 25 yards out gave the Terrapins the early lead.

Stengel, the ACC Freshman of the Year, knotted the game at 1-1 in the 19th minute. She took the ball from D’Agostino in the right corner of the box and put it into an empty net, well past Balogun, who had come out of the box to make a play. Stengel, who already owned Wake Forest’s season record for points in a season, set the school mark with her 15th goal of the year.

“I want to congratulate Maryland for getting to the final and they really gave us a tough game,” said Wake Forest coach Tony da Luz. “We were under a lot of pressure throughout the game with that early goal. I’m really proud of our kids that they responded so quickly and got that goal back to tie the game. It showed a lot of character and really saw the whole thing through. Our goal for the weekend was to finish the tournament and win it. I’m just really proud of our kids.”

Wake Forest (12-7-3), which became the fourth school to win an ACC Women’s Soccer Championship, earned its first automatic bid to the NCAA Women’s Soccer Tournament. No. 3 Maryland (17-2-2) entered the tournament with an impressive No. 8 RPI and will await an at-large bid. The NCAA will announce the 2010 women’s soccer championship field at approximately 4:30 p.m. Monday on ESPNU.

“Obviously, we are very disappointed,” said Maryland coach Brian Pensky. “We had a terrific season and a very good week down here. We felt like today was going to be our day. Wake Forest is a very good team, and they make it difficult for you to penetrate. We had a hard time breaking them down as the game went on. I think the same can be said for us, however. They obviously didn’t have many great looks. I thought our team defended well.”

The championship game was the third consecutive match that went to overtime in the highly contested 2010 tournament. Wake Forest got past North Carolina on penalty kicks in Friday’s first semifinal match en route to becoming the first school to advance on PKs in both the semifinals and finals. Maryland outlasted Boston College in overtime in the second semifinal contest.

Wake Forest (12-7-3), which became the fourth school to win an ACC Women’s Soccer Championship, earned its first automatic bid to the NCAA Women’s Soccer Tournament. No. 3 Maryland (17-2-2) entered the tournament with an impressive No. 8 RPI and will await an at-large bid. The NCAA will announce the 2010 women’s soccer championship field at approximately 4:30 p.m. Monday on ESPNU.

2010 ACC Women’s Soccer All-Tournament Team
Aubrey Bledsoe, Wake Forest – MVP
Yewande Balogun, Maryland
Danielle Hubka, Maryland
Ashley Grove, Maryland
Katie Stengel, Wake Forest
Jackie McSally, Wake Forest
Marisa Park, Wake Forest
Meg Morris, North Carolina
Kealia Ohai, North Carolina
Crystal Dunn, North Carolina
Jill Mastroianni, Boston College