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Wake Forest's Christine Conroe, 4, battles for the ball with Syracuse's Lieke Visser, 4, during the ACC Field Hockey Championship, on Sunday, Nov. 9, 2014, in Durham, N.C. #ACCFH (Photo by Sara D. Davis, theACC.com)
Demon Deacons earn first title since 2006
DURHAM , N.C. – No. 4 Wake Forest scored two goals in the first half and rode a stellar defensive performance to claim a 2-0 victory over sixth-seeded Syracuse and win the 2014 ACC Field Hockey Championship on Sunday.
With the win, Wake Forest clinched the fourth ACC Field Hockey Championship in program history and its first since 2006. In addition, the Demon Deacons locked up the league’s automatic berth to the NCAA Championship.
“It’s just surreal,” said Wake Forest head coach Jennifer Averill, who has coached the Demon Deacons to all four league titles in school history. “It was the longest last 16 minutes [of the game] in our lives but hats off to the group. They just killed it. They executed the game plan to the best of their abilities.”
“It was such a great team effort and I’m so proud of them.”
Wake Forest senior midfielder Anna Kozniuk was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player after tallying two goals and six points over the three games.
“All of it was my teammates making me look good,” said Kozniuk. “I was in the right places at the right times, and honestly today it was beautiful team hockey and I couldn’t ask to be a part of a better program this year.”
The first shot on net for either team resulted in the match’s opening goal as Wake Forest struck first. In the 15th minute, Christine Conroe took a pass in the middle of the circle from Kali Vicars and found the back of the net for her fourth goal this season.
Minutes later, the Demon Deacons tacked on another score when Kozniuk faked a shot off of a corner and passed it off to Georgia Holland, who ripped a goal past the lunging Syracuse goalkeeper. The score was Holland’s third on the year.
After being held to one shot in the first half, Syracuse put five shots on net in the second half. The Orange had one late opportunity to score when they were awarded a penalty corner with five minutes left, but the Wake Forest defense cleared the ball to escape the threat.
"It was a great weekend for play," Syracuse head coach Ange Bradley said. "I think it's an amazing learning experience. Playing in the ACC Tournament does nothing but prepare a team for a Final Four; it's like a Final Four experience.”
“Unfortunately, we did not get the result we wanted. I want to congratulate Wake Forest on the win and being the ACC champion. We had a great time down here at Duke and are looking forward to awaiting a bid to the NCAA Tournament."
In all, Syracuse posted six shots and three penalty corners to Wake Forest’s four shots and two penalty corners but were unable to capitalize.
The Demon Deacon defense held the conference’s best scoring offense to six shots and zero goals, only the second scoreless game for the Orange this season. The shutout was Valerie Dahmen’s sixth of the year.
2014 ACC Field Hockey All-Tournament Team: Samantha Travers, North Carolina; Nina Notman, North Carolina; Alyssa Manley, Syracuse; Kati Nearhouse, Syracuse; Emma Russell, Syracuse; Jenny Johnstone, Virginia; Caleigh Foust, Virginia; Jess Newak, Wake Forest; Christine Conroe, Wake Forest; Georgia Holland, Wake Forest; Anna Kozniuk, Wake Forest.