2017 Team Reviews

Wake Forest 2017 Team and Recruiting Class Review

School:  Wake Forest
Conference:  Atlantic Coast
Coach:  Bobby Muuss - Third Season  
2016 Record: 19-3-3 overall - 5-1-2 in conference
Final 2016 Season Ending National Rank:  Second

Five Year Win Total:

2012:  11

2013:  10

2014:  10

2015:  17

2016: 19

Key Losses from the 2016 Team: Midfielders Jacori Hayes (8g, 3), Ian Harkes (5g, 4a), Hayden Partain (3g, 0a), Ricky Greensfelder (0g, 1a), defender Hunter Bandy and goalkkeper Alec Ferrell. 
2016 Goals Scored and Goals Allowed: 37 Scored - 13 Allowed 
2016 Key Statistic: Wake Forest had a 397 to 224 shot advantage over opponents

Background: Wake Forest is among the premier programs in the country as reflected in their thirty-six wins over the past two seasons. The Demon Deacons were 19-3-2 in 2016, won the ACC Tournament, earned the number two seed in the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the National Championship contest where they were edged 1-0 in overtime by Stanford.

The Demon Deacons have earned a total of twenty appearances in the NCAA Tournament including the past six seasons in a row. They have advanced to the College Cup (Fiinal Four) five times (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2016) and won the National Championship in 2007. 

Midfielders Jacori Hayes and Ian Harkes and goalkeeper Alec Ferrell were NSCAA and College Soccer News 2016 All-American selections as well as All-ACC First Team selections. Harkes was the 2016 Hermann Trophy Winner which is awarded to the top collegiate player in the nation.

Defender Kevin Politz and midfielder Brad Dunwell were 2016 All-ACC Third Team selections and midfielder Ema Twumasi was a 2016 College Soccer News First Team All-Freshman selection as well as a member of the 2016 All-ACC Freshman Team. 

Number Starters Returning: Eight 

Offense:  The Demon Deacons will  not easily replace the tangibles and intangibles and the experience that midfielders Jacori Hayes (8g, 3a) and Ian Harkes (5g, 4a) provided on the offensive side of the ball.

Senior forward Jon Bakero (7g, 4a) and sophomore midfielder Ema Twumasi (6g, 4a) are among returning players who will be counted upon to power the attack in 2017. Both are very capable finishers.

Senior midfielders Luis Argudo (1g, 4a) and Steven Echevarria (2g, 1a), and sophomore Bruno Lapa (1g, 1a) are among other returning linkmen who will be counted upon to add punch to the offense. 

Junior defensive midfiedler Brad Dunwell (0g, 3a) is an experienced and savvy player who will likey set the pace in the middle of the park.  .

Junior forwaard Hank Gauger (1g, 0a) and sophomores Joey DeZart and Thomas Menke who saw limited action last year are among other returning players who will seek to play a greater role in 2017.  

Midfielders Omir Fernandez out of the New York Red Bulls, Justin McMaster out of the Phildelphia Union and Brandon Servania out of FC Dallas are among the newcomers who could contribute immediately. 

Defense: Wake Forest will seek to maintain the tenacious level of play on the defensive side of the ball that they have displayed over the past two seasons. However they will have to do so without the services of All-American goalkeeper Alec Ferrell and back Hunter Bandy due to graduation.

The good news is that a solid core of defenders return led by senior Kevin Politz (0g, 1a) and juniors Sam Raben (0g,3a) and Logan Gdula (0g, 2a) along with defensive midfielder junior Brad Dunwell.

Sophomore goalkeeper Andreu Cases Mundet who took over the starting role last year during the NCAA Tournament when Alec Ferrell sustained an injury should provide the Demon Deacons a solid presence between the pipes. Cases Mundet had an impressive 0.36 goals against average during eight contests in 2016.  

Newcomers:  

Coach Muuss stated, "I couldn't be more excited to welcome these young men to Winston-Salem. They have already been successful in their lives on and off the pitch, and we're confident they will keep up the elite tradition for Wake Forest soccer."

Machop Choi - Midfielder - Tucker, Georgia - Southwest DeKalb High School - Played for Atlanta United FC. Scored eleven goals in 2016 season. 

Omir Fernandez - Midfielder - Bronx, New York - Columbia Secondary School - Played for the New York Red Bulls. Attended U.S. U-18 National Team Camp. Ranked by College Soccer News as the number fourteen player in the class of 2017. 

Landen Haig - Forward - Melboune Beach, Florida - Melbourne High School - Invited to the 2016 U.S. U-18 National Team camp. Played for Orlando City SC. 

Kyle McCurley - Midfielder - Lake Zurich, Illinois - Lake Zurich High School - Played for Chicago Magic PSG and FC United.

Mark McKenzie - Defender - Bronx, New York - YSC Academy - Played for Philadelphia Union. Member of the U.S. U-18 National Team. Played for the Philadelphia Union and the Delaware Rush. Ranked by College Soccer News as the number twenty-six player in the class of 2017. 

Justin McMaster - Midfielder - Kingston, Jamaica - YSC Academy - Played for the Philadelphia Union. Played for USL Club Bethlehem Steel. Attended U.S. U-18 National Team Camp. Ranked by College Soccer News as the number fifty-four player in the class of 2017.  

Andrew Pannenberg - Goalkeeper - Charlotte, North Carolina - Ardey Kell High School - Played for the Charlotte Soccer Academy. Twice called to the U.S. U-17 National Team. Ranked by College Soccer News as the number one hundred and twenty-one player in the class of 2017. 

Dominic Peters - Goalkeeper - Santa Clara, California - Bellarmine College Prep - Played for the San Jose Earthquakes. Has trained with the Argentenian National Team and the San Jose Earthquakes.

Brandon Servania - Midfielder - Birmingham, Alabama - Lone Star High School - Played for FC Dallas. Member of the U.S. U-18 National Team. NSCAA All-American. Ranked as the number fifty-eight player in the class of 2017.

Prognosis for 2017:  Wake Forest will enter the 2017 campaign coming off banner seasons in 2015 and 2016. The Demon Deacons advanced to the Elite Eight in 2015 and played their way into the College Cup and National Championship contest in 2016.

The Demon Deacons will be without a talented and very successful senior class from the 2016 team that included All-Americans Jacori Hayes and Ian Harkes who combined for a total of nine game-winning goals last year and goalkeeper Alec Ferrell who established himself as among the best betweeen the pipes in the country during his tenure in Winston-Salem.  

Exactly what the Demon Deacon attack will look like without the playmaking ability and stability that Hayes and Harkes provided is a bit of a question mark which will likely be answered by the productivity of Jon Bakero, Ema Twumasi and Luis Argudo and the ability of another returning player or one of the highly regarded newcomers to emerge to add another dimension to the offense.

The play of sophomore Andreu Cases Mundet in goal looks to be the key on the defensive side of the ball.  

A very solid group and soccer savvy group of players are slated to return and Bobby Muuss has once again recruitied well adding a class of newcomers that is ranked by College Soccer News as the third best recruiting class in the country. So regardless of the departures, it is unlikely that the Demon Deacons will suffer a significant drop-off.

The Demon Deacons will again face a very competitive slate of opponents. The ACC will be extremely competitive from top to bottom which means that any weaknesses that may exist will be exploited.

There are a few unaswered questions but the bottom line is that Wake Forest looks to have sufficient firepower on the offensive side of the ball along with the talent and experience on the defensive side of the ball to be good enough to once again contend for the ACC title and a return trip to the College Cup.