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Cougars shut out Trojans

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WAKE FOREST — Wake Forest’s boys soccer team opened the season with three straight wins after the Cougars beat Garner 4-0 at home Monday Aug. 26. Wake Forest has posted a shutout in all three of their matches this year. It’s the second game in a row Wake Forest has defeated their opponent 4-0. The Cougars shut out Laney High School 4-0 Aug. 23. The last time Wake Forest played Garner was Sept. 26 2017. In that game, the Cougars edged out the Trojans 1-0 at home. In Monday night's contest, Wake Forest head coach Rick Pittarelli said the players were spreading out over the field and creating opportunities, which led to more goals. “Offensively, the guys kept their shape spread open,” Pittarelli said. “We put high pressure on Garner to see what they can do. They stayed in the game with us. We’re a work-in-progress and we’re going to keep on working.”

Wake Forest’s first goal of the match came off an assist from Ryan Pitz to Justin Palmer midway through the first half. Three minutes later, Chris Steg scored off an assist from Austin Talmadge. Steg scored again four minutes into the second half. The last goal of the night came off a pass from Chris Guccio to Jake Smith with 17 minutes left in the game. Wake Forest preserved the shut out and kept Garner away from their side of the field for the majority of the match. Pittarelli said communication is the key to playing strong defense. “Defensively, the guys have a lot of chemistry this year,” Pittarelli said. “The guys are talking and that helps us.” With the win, Wake Forest stays undefeated at 3-0. The Cougars pulled off a big upset in their first match of the season by beating the defending 4A state champions Green Hope 1-0. Pittarelli said this year’s team should be special if they keep putting in the hard work game after game. “The guys are showing effort this year,” Pittarelli said. “We go to practice and work hard. We go out and play hard. The guys give everything they have for each other.” Wake Forest will play at Leesville Road Sept. 4 at 6:30 p.m.