Wake For­est de­feats DU 2-1 in dou­ble OT in semi­fi­nals of men’s NCAA Tour­na­ment.

WAKE FOR­EST 2, DEN­VER 1

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By The As­so­ci­ated Press

hous­ton» Af­ter a frus­trat­ing first half that saw his team stymied by a re­silient Den­ver de­fense, Wake For­est coach Bobby Mu­uss’ mes­sage to his team was to keep go­ing.

“If we’re en­joy­ing play­ing, we’ll be vic­to­ri­ous tonight,” Mu­uss said.

Af­ter a dom­i­nant sec­ond half and over­time, Ian Harkes broke in the 102nd minute and Wake For­est beat Den­ver 2-1 in dou­ble over­time Fri­day to ad­vance to the Col­lege Cup ti­tle game. The De­mon Dea­cons will face Stan­ford, which late Fri­day beat North Carolina in the 10th round of a shootout af­ter no goals over 110 min­utes.

Wake For­est is back in the ti­tle game for the first time since win­ning in 2007.

Harkes calmly slot­ted his low fin­ish past goal­keeper Nick Gard­ner into the bot­tom cor­ner to cap an im­pres­sive De­mon Dea­cons counter at­tack. Wake For­est had plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties to seal the vic­tory prior to Harkes’ goal, out­shoot­ing Den­ver 14-2 in the sec­ond half and over­time.

“I didn’t re­ally ex­pect it to be off the counter-at­tack,” Harkes said.

Wake For­est’s Jon Bakero opened the scor­ing in the sev­enth minute. Bakero took pos­ses­sion from Den­ver de­fender Gra­ham Smith 30 yards from goal in the cen­ter of the field, turned to his right and de­liv­ered a curl­ing ef­fort past Gard­ner.

Trail­ing for only the fourth time this sea­son, the Pi­o­neers (20-1-3) re­sponded 10 min­utes later. Gra­ham Smith sent a lofted pass over the de­fense to for­ward An­dre Shinyashiki, who pounced on a re­bound to equal­ize af­ter his first shot was saved by goal­keeper Alec Ferrell. It was Shinyashiki’s team-high ninth goal of the sea­son.

Af­ter half­time, Mu­uss cred­ited his team for set­tling the game down and tak­ing con­trol.

“They’re tight games,” Mu­uss said. “No one wants to make mis­takes. I thought they did a re­ally great job of stay­ing com­pact.”

The Pi­o­neers out­shot Wake For­est 5-4 in the first half, 5-4, but the De­mon Dea­cons set­tled the game down and took con­trol from the start of the sec­ond half.

“I think there was a lit­tle bit of frus­tra­tion to­day,” Harkes said. “We need to set­tle the game down. In the first half, it was a lot of back and forth.”

The De­mon Dea­cons had the best chances in the sec­ond half. Bakero took a cross from the right wing and hit a shot off the cross­bar, while Harkes had a shot in the fi­nal minute go straight at Gard­ner.

The win­ner in the sec­ond over­time came off the counter-at­tack fol­low­ing a Den­ver cor­ner kick. Bakero turned past a de­fender near mid­field and started a 3-on-1 counter with Harkes to his right.

“There was just one de­fender there and I took a big touch,” Bakero said. “I tried to take him to the left to cre­ate space for Ian.”

The loss was Den­ver’s first of the sea­son and first since los­ing to SMU in the NCAA Tour­na­ment last sea­son.

“I’m re­ally proud of my group,” se­nior mid­fielder Sam Hamil­ton said. “I think we took the pro­gram to a place it’s never been, which is not an easy thing to do.”

Den­ver play­ers at­tempt to stop Wake For­est's Ema Twu­masi from ad­vanc­ing the ball to­ward the goal dur­ing the first half of the NCAA soc­cer men's Col­lege Cup semi­fi­nal Fri­day in Hous­ton. Wake For­est won 2-1. Yi-Chin Lee, Hous­ton Chron­i­cle

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