Daryl Dike showed why he is considered one of the top pro prospects in college soccer, scoring twice less than four minutes apart in the first half to lead top-ranked Virginia to a 2-1 win over
ACC rival Wake Forest in the Men's College Cup semifinals.
sends the Cavaliers to the final for the third straight time the final four has been played in Cary, North Carolina. Virginia, which faces Georgetown on Sunday night, was victorious both other times,
winning in shootouts over Akron (2009) and UCLA (2014) after both games ended in scoreless draws.
Dike, a sophomore from Edmond, Oklahoma, has been the Cavs' top offensive threat all
season with a team-high in goals (9), assists (8) and points (26). On top of that, he has drawn fouls that led directly to seven fouls, including two in the 3-2 quarterfinal win over SMU.
He took care of business himself against Wake Forest, latching on to a long pass from Norwegian Andreas Ueland and blasting a shot off a bounce from a sharp angle past keeper Andrew
Pannenberg into the top left corner of the goal in the 19th minute and scoring on a header off Daniel Steedman's corner kick in the 23rd minute.
“We always talk about
don’t let one ball beat you, and that happened," Wake coach Bobby Muuss said of the first goal "One of the best forwards in America gets that chance, and, man, he took it. He poses a
problem every time he gets the ball. He can be a handful. He probably punched his ticket to the MLS against Wake Forest.” Against the nation's top defense, that two-goal cushion was going
to be hard for Wake Forest to overcome.
The Demon Deacons' attack came to life in the second half, but Wake didn't score until the 79th minute when Bruno Lapa converted a penalty
kick after Machop Chol was fouled in the penalty area.
Boosted by the pro-Wake crowd that had braved heavy rains in the Triangle area, Wake Forest pressed for the equalizer. Its
best chance came from a Chol header in the 89th minute that was stopped by Colin Shutler with a diving save, his sixth of the second half and season-high seventh of the game.
“A 2-0 lead is a tricky lead,” said Virginia coach George Gelnovatch. “They get that goal, and it’s very tricky.”
The victory was the 21st of the
season to leave the Cavs one shy of matching their record for wins in a season set by both the 1993 and 1994 national championship teams.
Dec. 13 in Cary, N.C. Virginia 2 Wake Forest 1. Goals: Dike (Ueland) 19, Dike (Steedman) 23, Lapa pen. 79. Virginia -- Shutler, Kessler, Ueland,
Afamefuna, Halsey, Bell, Steedman, Donasiyano, Crofts, Gunnarsson, Dike. Sub: Patton, Horton. Wake Forest -- Pannenberg, Folds, DeShields, Johnston, Benalcazar, DeZaer, Lapa,
Parente, Chol, Harris, Holcomb. Subs: Thomas, Rennhack, Wrona, Hernandez. Att.: 9,862.