WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – A penalty kick goal with 1:44 remaining was the difference as the Columbia men's soccer team fell at No. 1 Wake Forest, 1-0, in the second round of the NCAA Men's Soccer Tournament.
The Lions held the most lethal offense in the NCAA to just two shots on goal and nine total shots, as the country's leader in points, Jon Bakero, nailed the PK attempt for the game-winner. The goal for Bakero came on his only shot of the game, as Columbia flexed their defensive muscle against the top scoring team and goal-scorer.
"It’s a group that’s shown resilience and character the whole time and I don’t think that changed for us today," said head coach Kevin Anderson. "I’m proud of our group, we didn’t come here to participate we came to win, so we walk away with a bitter taste."
In the seventh minute of the contest, Columbia got its first of just two attempts on goal, when an Arthur Bosua header was saved by Wake Forest's Andreu Cases Mundet. Shortly thereafter in the 14th minute, the Demon Deacons had their best look of the contest, as Brandon Servania ripped a shot to the left of Dylan Castanheira, but with a full extension the junior made the save for his first of the contest.
Wake Forest kept the pressure on Columbia, taking four more shots in the half but nothing on goal as the teams went into the half tied 0-0.
At the start of the second half, the Lions got the ball into the box and onto the foot of Dylan Mott, who's attempt was blocked to keep the game scoreless. Despite Wake Forest keeping the ball on their side of the field for most of the frame, Columbia kept the pressure on when Nike Azuma found himself within striking distance on the left side, but his attempt in the 72nd minute went just over the crossbar.
Every time the Demon Deacons came close to an attempt in the final third, the ball seemed to get poked out at the last second by a Columbia defender, as the game seemed destined for overtime. With under three minutes to go, Wake had a look at goal, but Castanheira slid to his right, then kicked out a save at the last second, keeping the match tied. The home team quickly gained back the possession, then had a forward fouled in the box, setting up the attempt for Bakero.
Following the ensuing Wake goal, Columbia then had two attempts in the closing minute, as Zach Morant had a flick saved by Cases Mundet with 37 seconds remaining. The Lions gained back the possession with Mott, who streaked to his right and sent a cross into the box with four seconds on the clock, but the Bosua header went just right of the post as Wake escaped with the 1-0 win in regulation.
The No. 1 overall seed in the tournament will move on and host Butler in the round of 16, while Columbia ends the season at 12-3-2, after going 5-1-1 in Ivy League play, winning its first postseason match since 1990, and having seven players earn All-Ivy League accolades.