Senior Night clearly meant a lot to the Wakefield boys soccer team.
The Wolverines snapped a winless streak that went back nearly a year, with Wakefield blitzing Wake Forest 6-1 on Wednesday night to earn their its victory of the season.
The Wolverines (1-10-2, 1-7-1 Cap-8) last won Oct. 21, 2015, but a five-goal second half ensured they wouldn’t go the entire 2016 season without a win.
“It’s a great feeling,” said senior Paul Praschinger, an exchange student from Austria. “We’ve had a long season. We’ve already deserved a victory, and I’m proud of the team because we didn’t give up. We continued, we focused, and now we have a victory and we’re looking forward to the last (five) games.”
Praschinger beat his defender on a long pass to get Wakefield’s first goal in the 26th minute, but the Wolverines broke it open with three goals in the first 20 minutes of the second half. Wake Forest (5-12, 1-9) got on the board in the 66th minute, but another Wakefield goal seconds later ended any hope of a Cougar comeback.
“Senior Night has a lot to do with the amount of motivation they have,” Wakefield coach Michael Cantrell said. “The motivation was there to work a little bit harder. It was the boys making the choice to put in a little more effort than they have been all season.”
Cantrell was hired the day before tryouts, and he’s still getting to know his players. A couple tough early-season losses didn’t help, but his team has stuck together.
“I can’t believe it, to be honest, that they have the attitude they have,” Cantrell said.
Seniors Marcus Shenker-Tauris, Brendon Fusik and Oliver Norton scored Tuesday, as did junior Connor Hoke and freshman John Alexander.
Cougars coach Mike Atkinson started seven underclassmen after losing “arguably the best three players we’ve had at Wake Forest in 10 years” from 2015. Defense has been an issue, Cantrell said, as they’ve given up 73 goals this season – and 38 in their current seven-game losing streak.
“They’re still waiting for Superman to come through the door and save the day,” Atkinson said. “They’re realizing he’s not coming.”
THEY SAID IT
“We’ve got to use it,” Cantrell said of the victory. “It’s their choice. It’s up to them to come out the next game and be as motivated as they were in this one.”