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MEN'S COLLEGE CUP: Wake seniors are back yet again
by Paul Kennedy, December 10th, 2008 8AM



Of all the accomplishments defending champion Wake Forest has achieved this season -- No. 1 ranking, top seed and the nation's top offense -- perhaps none is as remarkable as the fact that Jay Vidovich has six seniors projected to start in their third straight final four.

Sophomores Ike Opara and Corben Bone may be Wake's top pro prospects and junior Cody Arnoux is its leading scorer, but the heart of the team is the six seniors -- defenders Lyle Adams and Evan Brown, midfielders Sam Cronin, Jamie Franks and Michael Lahoud and striker Marcus Tracy -- who all started at College Cup '06 and College Cup '07 and are projected to start in Friday's semifinal against North Carolina (TV, ESPN2, live, 5:30 pm ET).

"We're very proud," Vidovich says of returning to the Men's College Cup for a third years in a row, "especially if you look at the senior and junior class, who have been to three straight College Cups. It's very exciting. I think what makes it special is the ambition of the team. After winning the national championship, a lot of people take a break and say that was a great accomplishment. Our guys said what a great accomplishment; lets do it again. They've been paying the price since last winter. They worked very hard through the summer and this year, on the field and in the classroom, to be able to enjoy an experience like this. They're ready for it."

Vidovich says Wake's experience is an important factor in its scoring record -- 12 goals in the last two NCAA Tournament games.

"A lot of people talk about there not being as many goals in soccer," he says. "Our attacking players and the majority of our team have been together for three years. Our trip to Brazil and our experiences in these types of competitions has become fruitful. Our guys are going to the goal. They're very good at it. We hope to continue playing at a high level. Right now, the goals are falling in a pretty spectacular fashion."

 Tracy, the star of last year's College Cup, credits the Deacons' chemistry for their success.

"Certainly, that's not typical soccer," he says of the 12 goals against Dartmouth and South Florida. "Like Coach said, the guys that we have on the field have been together for a long time. I think we all know each other very well. We have a lot of chemistry. It's not just our offense. It starts with our defense. We're really able to read each other and feed off of each other. We take that momentum and we go with it. Sometimes we're able to produce results like we have the last two games."

Lyle Adams (Orlando, Fla.)
2005 21 0-1-1
2006 24 4-0-8
2007 26 4-2-10
2008 23 3-3-9

Evan Brown (Raleigh, N.C.)
2005 14 1-0-2
2006 25 0-1-1
2007 26 1-6-8
2008 23 2-8-12

Sam Cronin (Winston-Salem, N.C.)
2005 23 0-3-3
2006 25 4-4-12
2007 26 3-8-14
2008 23 10-4-24

Jamie Franks (Medford, N.J.)
2005 23 3-2-8
2006 23 0-4-4
2007 23 1-3-5
2008 23 3-11-17

Michael Lahoud (Annandale, Va.)
2005 23 7-5-19
2006 24 3-6-12
2007 24 4-4-12
2008 23 0-5-5

Marcus Tracy (Newtown, Conn.)
2005 5 0-0-0
2006 22 6-4-16
2007 26 11-9-31
2008 23 13-10-36

*A seventh senior, Cline Beam, has one assist in 33 career games in a reserve role.

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