Favorites prevail Friday night as #1 Maryland, #18 Wake Forest, N.C. State take care of business
Everything went according to plan Friday night in ACC action, with all three better record teams coming out on top over the underdogs. No. 1 Maryland beat Duke on the road 2-1, No. 18 Wake Forest defeated Virginia 4-1 and N.C. State outlasted Virginia Tech 1-0.
The Terps extended their overall winning streak to 10 games and advanced to 5-0-0 in the ACC with three league matches left on the schedule. John Stertzer scored his fifth goal of the season and Christiano Francois his third in the first half Friday night in Durham to lift Maryland over the Blue Devils. Freshman defender Mikey Ambrose and junior forward Jordan Cyrus provided the assists.
Meanwhile, Keith Cardona had to make just one save in picking up the win as the Terp defense was outstanding once again. The efforts of Ambrose from his defensive midfield position, along with fellow freshman Dakota Edwards and senior leader London Woodberry propelled the Maryland defense another comfortable win.
With the loss, Duke fell to 2-3-1 in conference play and are now tied with Clemson and Boston College for fourth in points with seven. However, the Blue Devils have already played two more ACC matches (6) than Boston College and one more than Clemson, leaving the Eagles and Tigers plenty of room to vault themselves ahead of Duke in the standings before postseason seeding begins.
In Charlottesville Friday night, Wake Forest laid down a 4-1 beating of now eighth place Virginia. The Cavaliers dropped to 1-4 in league play, dropping a fourth straight ACC match while Wake Forest got back on the winning side after losing 1-0 at home to Boston College in its last ACC match, the Demon Deacons’ only conference loss of the season to this point.
Four players scored for Wake Forest in Friday night’s win, as the Demon Deacon offense continues to heat up late in the season. The Deacs received contributions from two of their leading scorers, Sean Okoli and Mikey Gamble, who each recorded their fifth goals of the season, while Ross Tomaselli added his second and senior playmaker Luciano Delbono scored his first of the year.
Lucian Delbono postgame (Via Wake Forest Athletics)
With the win, Wake Forest takes over sole possession of third place in the ACC and is looking pretty at a trip to the College Cup regardless of how they perform in the ACC Tournament as long as they can continue to win over less talented teams.
The ACC’s second Virginia team, the Hokies, failed for a fifth time to pick up their first conference win on Friday as the Hokies were shut down by the reeling N.C. State Wolfpack. The Wolfpack’s fourth shutout of the season and a goal from Danny DiPrima improved N.C. State to 8-6 overall, but just 1-4 in conference play. Alex Martinez, the ACC’s points leader (21), recorded fifth assist on the play and currently holds a slim one-point lead over Maryland’s Patrick Mullins.
Friday night’s win ended a three-match losing streak for the Wolfpack and also ended a stretch of two full games in which they did not score a goal. N.C. State will get a major test next Friday when they square off against in-state foe Wake Forest.