WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – The No. 7 California Golden Bears (1-1-0) knocked off the No. 11 Wake Forest Demon Deacons (0-2-0) 4-1 on Sunday night at Spry Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C. Cal senior midfielder Connor Hallisey put on a show, scoring the opener and assisted on sophomore Christian Thierjung’s second goal of the season, as well as senior Stefano Bonomo’s first. Senior midfielder Max Oldham also tallied a goal and an assist in the impressive road victory for the Bears. Senior goalkeeper Justin Taillole got the start and made six saves in the team’s first victory of 2014.
"We played two extremely talented teams this weekend, both amongst the best in the country," head coach Kevin Grimes said on Sunday night in Winston-Salem. "We grew quite a bit on a number of things in just 48 hours. Our team's next thought is to get back to our training field as soon as possible."
After some initial pressure by Wake Forest, the Golden Bears got to work. In the 11th minute, a long ball over the top found redshirt freshman forward Jose Carrera-Garcia in alone on goal. Wake Forest redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Alec Farrell came up with a huge diving save to keep things scoreless. Just four minutes later, Ferrell was unable to repeat the task. Oldham found himself in acres of space down the right side and slid his low cross across the face of goal to an oncoming Hallisey, who finished coolly to open the scoring.
Hallisey was a terror down the wing throughout the first half and in the 19th minute nearly doubled his tally. A weighted ball played through by Carrera-Garcia saw Hallisey into the box, but his close-range effort was denied by Ferrell. In the 27th minute, however, the Bears were not to be denied. Hallisey got on the end of a ball over the top and his touch took him past an on-rushing Ferrell. His inch-perfect cross picked out Thierjung in front of goal and the sophomore made no mistake, lashing in his second goal of the season on the volley to stretch the Cal advantage to 2-0.
Thierjung, who had just equaled his goal-scoring output from his freshman campaign, nearly exceeded it five minutes from halftime. He was left alone and cut in one-on-one with Ferrell, but the sophomore goalkeeper again stood tall, diving to keep the Demon Deacons in the match.
Hallisey and the Bears picked up right where they left off to open the second half. In the 47th minute senior defender Dylan Serrano played a ball into the corner for Hallisey, who picked out Bonomo at the back post for a glancing header to push the lead to 3-0.
Wake Forest showed some life in the 64th minute and pulled a goal back. Sophomore Jacori Hayes found freshman Hank Gauger just inside the area, and Gauger’s first-time blast beat Cal senior goalkeeper Justin Taillole to pull the score to 3-1. The Demon Deacons threatened to cut the deficit even more with a short flurry of chances, but Cal was able to withstand the pressure.
The Golden Bears were able to salt this one away and make it 4-1 in the 69th minute, when freshman Paul Salcedo dispossessed a Wake Forest defender inside the box. Salcedo was one-on-one with Ferrell, but unselfishly pushed a square ball to Oldham, who slammed his shot into the far post. Salcedo also assisted on Cal’s lone goal on Friday night against No. 22 North Carolina.
The Bears are off next week, but Cal returns home to open Edwards Stadium in 2014 with a match against Cleveland State on Friday, Sept. 12 at 1 p.m. PT. Fans are encouraged to stay up to date on Twitter @CalMensSoccer and CalBears.com for the most updated content and information.