Wake Forest earns first official win of the season

Photo courtesy of Wake Forest Athletic Communications

Photo courtesy of Wake Forest Athletic Communications

Maybe a little rain was all the Demon Deacons needed to jump start their season.

Ricky Greensfelder scored just three minutes into the first overtime period as No. 23 Wake Forest defeated No. 21 Connecticut 2-1 at Spry Stadium.

“The team put in a ton of minutes and to be able to come on and just finish the game off to give everybody a break, it was just awesome,” said Greensfelder after the game.

Friday night’s game against Connecticut was delayed a little over an hour due to rain and thunderstorms in the area.

However, that didn’t seem to slow down Wake Forest as they earned their first win on the season.

For the second consecutive game, Wake Forest (1-2-0) went down 1-0 early as Cyle Larin scored in the fourth minute to put UConn in front.

Following several offensive chances, the Demon Deacons finally got a deserved equalizer in the 36th minute as Jared Odenbeck finished a free kick from Michael Gamble for his first goal in a Wake Forest uniform.

The second half saw a yellow card issued to each team, but yielded no goals as Wake Forest and UConn went back-and-forth searching hard for a winner.

Then, just three minutes into the extra period, Greensfelder netted a pass from Gamble to send the Demon Deacons to their first win.

That momentum carried over into Sunday night’s tilt against Cleveland State, as the Demon Deacons finally found their offensive footing and exploded for four goals en route to a 4-1 win.

Gamble and Jacori Hayes had a goal and an assist, while Hank Gauger and Greensfelder also had goals for Wake Forest (2-2-0) as the Demon Deacon defense limited Cleveland State to just four total shots.

“Once again, the back four are coming together and doing a good job, but it’s really the effort of the team.  You can see how much cleaner our midfield is defending with the work of Tane Gent and Hank Gauger up front,” head coach Jay Vidovich said.

Wake Forest peppered Cleveland State throughout the first half with several shots before finally breaking through on a Gamble penalty kick in the 33rd minute.

Gauger made it a 2-0 game in the 54th minute following a lead pass from Gamble and Harkes, but Cleveland State got one back in the 66th minute on their first shot of the game from Sergio Manesio.

Greensfelder capitalized in the 82nd minute after collecting a rebound off of a Hayes blocked shot to make it 3-1 before Hayes scored his first goal of the season after beating his defender and scoring past the keeper for the fourth Wake Forest tally of the night.

With five points over the weekend, Gamble now leads the team in assists (six) and points (eight), and his performance so far this season has not gone unnoticed by Vidovich.

“Michael is certainly one of our key players and what makes him special is not only what he does on the ball, but what he does off it,” Vidovich said. “He has a drive to always get to goal, he has a drive when the other team has the ball, and he also has a drive to get to dangerous spots even without the ball.”

Vidovich added, “I think the big thing, right now, is that it’s been such a long time since [Gamble] has played and he’s just trying to find his form.  Soon, there’s going to be some goals dropping for him.”

Wake Forest will take on N.C. State at 7 p.m. on Sept. 12 at Spry Stadium to open their ACC conference schedule.

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