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
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.
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." THE WAKE SIX* Lyle Adams
(Orlando, Fla.) YEAR GP G-A-P
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.) YEAR GP G-A-P
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.) YEAR GP G-A-P
2005 23 0-3-3
2006 25 4-4-12
2007 26 3-8-14
10-4-24 Jamie Franks (Medford, N.J.) YEAR GP G-A-P
2005 23 3-2-8
2006 23 0-4-4
2008 23 3-11-17 Michael Lahoud (Annandale, Va.) YEAR GP G-A-P
2005 23 7-5-19
2007 24 4-4-12
2008 23 0-5-5 Marcus Tracy (Newtown, Conn.) YEAR GP G-A-P
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