RALEIGH — The match between N.C. State and Wake Forest at Dail Soccer Field promised to be a defensive showcase. Wake Forest broke that promise as the fourth-ranked Demon Deacons handled the No. 13 Wolfpack 4-1.
Using a balanced offensive attack and solid defense, Wake (9-2-2, 3-1-1 ACC) dealt State (9-3-1, 2-3-1) its first home loss of the season.
Wake Forest senior forward Zack Schilawski started the scoring in the fifth minute, his sixth goal this season. Senior midfielder Austin da Luz, the ACC's assist leader, had the first of his three assists.
"We wanted to jump on them early," Schilawski said. "I knew [da Luz] was going to take the shot. So at that point I just crashed the goal trying to get the rebound, and luckily it bounced to me."
Da Luz got into the scoring act in the 39th minute with his third goal of the season, lofting one in from 12 yards out.
N.C. State sophomore midfielder Kris Byrd scored his third goal of the season in the 61st minute to cut the deficit to 2-1.
But Wake Forest freshman forward Andy Lubahn netted his fifth goal of the season in the 69th minute to return the lead to two. Wake Forest struck again only two minutes later on junior defender Ike Opara's goal.
N.C. State senior goalkeeper Christopher Widman came into the game leading the ACC in shutouts with six, a career high, and hadn't allowed more than one goal in a game since Sept. 27.
However, Wake Forest senior Akira Fitzgerald came in with a save percentage of 84.1, best in the ACC, and notched three saves against the second-best scoring team in the conference.
"The biggest thing for us was to be sharp for the whole 90 minutes," Fitzgerald said. "We realized how important of a game this was and answered the challenge."