An early free kick by Alicia McDonough put the Wake Forest girls’ soccer team ahead for good in a 2-0 shutout over Knightdale on what was a rainy Thursday afternoon at Trentini Stadium.
McDonough blasted a lofting shot into the goal from 25 yards in the 15th minute and the host Cougars (3-4, 0-2 Cap-8 Conference) protected the lead for the remainder of the game. Hanna Dion provided an insurance goal in the 70th minute when she volleyed a corner kick into the net.
“We played the way the conditions were,” said Wake Forest coach Jeremiah Mattingly. “It was an ugly, direct game, but both teams fought really hard. When it’s wet like this, that’s the type of game you’re going to expect.”
Goalkeeper Tori Leech made a plethora of spectacular saves for the visiting Knights (0-5, 0-3 Greater Neuse River Conference), who were out-shot 16-3 in the game.
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“Tori is a very athletic player,” said Knightdale coach Madison Shope. “She’s growing more and more each game.”
In the 48th minute, Leech saved a hard shot from Wake Forest’s Jillian Noble after Noble snuck the ball through a defender’s legs. And Leech robbed Dion with diving saves on three different occasions as the second half progressed before Dion finally buried her fourth attempt.
“We didn’t pick our spots well, (but) part of that is (due to) the wet surface,” Mattingly said. “Their goalkeeper made some great saves.”
Of greater concern for the Knights right now is offense. The team has yet to score a single goal in five games to date.
Knightdale didn’t register its first shot attempt of the second half until the final minute; it was blocked.
Camille Glover had Knightdale’s best scoring chance of the game, but her attempt in the 17th minute sailed wide right. The Knights were able to penetrate deeper into the Cougars’ defense early in the second half but couldn’t convert a number of through balls into shots on goal.
Shope felt her team “dominated” Thursday’s game despite the score and expressed optimism about their progress.
“Offensively, we need to work on getting more attacks in the box,” she said.
Wake Forest’s win ended a three-game losing streak and marked the Cougars’ first victory over a team other than Rolesville this season.
“This was much better,” Mattingly said. “(The win) gives us momentum heading into spring break.”
Wake Forest will jump back into conference play when it hosts rival Wakefield on Mar. 30 while Knightdale will resume its search for a win on Mar. 31 with a conference game at Southeast Raleigh.