CARY, N.C. (AP) – Marcus Tracy led Wake Forest to the championship game in the NCAA Men’s College Cup, scoring twice in the second half in the Demon Deacons’ 2-0 victory semifinal victory Friday night over ACC rival Virginia Tech.

Tracy scored on a leaping header in the 51st minute and completed the scoring in the 82nd minute to send Wake Forest to the NCAA championship game for the first time in school history. The Demon Deacons (21-2-2) will play for the national title Sunday against the winner of the second semifinal between Atlantic-10 champion Massachusetts (17-7-1) and Big Ten winner Ohio State (16-3-5).

“Obviously, we’re very excited to advance to the national championship game,” said Wake Forest coach Jay Vidovich, whose team was eliminated in the semifinals last year on penalty kicks after playing a scoreless tie with eventual national champion UC Santa Barbara. “It was a great result against a very good team in Virginia Tech.”

Tracy scored his first goal on a free-kick cross from midfielder Sam Cronin. Cronin put the ball in play from the right side of the field near the end line, getting the opportunity for the free kick after Virginia Tech defender James Shupp was issued a yellow card.

Shupp’s foul was the first of two key mistakes during the sequence. The Hokies failed to mark Tracy properly on the restart, allowing him a free path to head the ball into the net toward the near post.

“That’s the first time all season that we didn’t have somebody near post,” said Virginia Tech coach Oliver Weiss, whose team ended its season tied for the school record for wins. “The kid (defender Marcus Reed) was on the bench, and nobody delegated that responsibility to the guy who came off the bench. It was a marking error, and Wake Forest took advantage of it.”

As the Hokies (14-4-5) tried to tie it late in the game, Tracy struck again. He trapped the ball after a header pass from Cary native Zack Schilawski, sending a shot along the ground into the lower right corner of the net.

“We had a lot of chances in the first half, and we just knew that we couldn’t get frustrated, Tracy said. “I think we did a good job of staying positive with that.”

Wake Forest had an advantage in possession time during the scoreless first half, but Virginia Tech outshot the Demon Deacons 4-3 and produced the best scoring opportunity of the period.

In the 13th minute, forward Patrick Nyarko got behind Wake Forest goalkeeper Brian Edwards when Edwards charged out of the net to try to intercept a long pass.

Nyarko stumbled as a Wake Forest defender raced in front of the net to cover for Edwards, so Nyarko crossed the ball to his left to teammate Robert Edmans. Edmans’ shot from point-blank range sailed over the crossbar.

“We dodged one there, but I think we handled it well,” said Edwards, who finished with his 13th shutout of the season. “We responded well.”

AP-ES-12-14-07 2056EST


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