Coach Bobby Muuss of Wake Forest was taking a final vacation with his wife and young children before the start of practice on Aug. 14.

Muuss, who will enter his fifth season as the men’s soccer coach, will open practice later this month in preparation for another season.

The Deacons are coming off an 18-3 season, and in four seasons they are 73-11-7 under Muuss.

They lost four starters from last season. Among those losses is Omir Fernandez, the Deacons’ leading scorer who left after his sophomore season to join the New York Red Bulls in the MLS.

Despite losing those starters, the Deacons, who were one of the deepest teams in the country, have another top-notch recruiting class. Among the players coming in is Omar Hernandez of Dalton, Ga., who was the national Gatorade Player of the Year.

The Deacons play exhibition games at Furman on Aug. 18 and at Spry Stadium on Aug. 24 against Army. They will open Aug. 30 at home against Central Florida at 6 p.m.

“We’re excited to host 11 matches here at Spry, a place I consider to be one of the best college soccer venues in the country,” Muuss said earlier this summer. “My goal in this year’s schedule is to challenge ourselves outside of an ACC schedule, which might be the most difficult we’ve had, in an effort to prepare our guys for postseason play.”

Lapa on watch list for Hermann Trophy

One of the Deacons’ top players, senior Bruno Lapa, was named to the MAC Hermann Trophy watch list earlier this summer.

The Hermann Trophy is voted on by the United Soccer Coaches and sponsored by the Missouri Athletic Club.

Lapa is one of 36 players on the watch list.

“Bruno dedicated himself to his craft last year and went from a reserve to one of the best players in the country,” Muuss said. “Now, as a senior, it will be even more important for him to take a leadership role and continue working hard to improve every day.”

Lapa was named the ACC Midfielder of the Year last season, and was a consensus first team All-America. He had 10 goals and nine assists with four of his goals game winners.

The Deacons have had three players win the Hermann Trophy — Jon Bakero (2017), Ian Harkes (2016) and Marcus Tracy (2008).

Muuss adjusts coaching staff for this season

Jonathan Lagos has joined the Deacons as an assistant coach. Lagos replaces Matt Poplawski, who took a job at South Florida.

Lagos joins the Deacons after a season as the top assistant at Wofford in 2018. He previously spent a year at his alma mater, North Greenville University (2017), and also worked for a year at Presbyterian (2016) and Southern Wesleyan University (2015).

“We’re ecstatic to add someone as experienced as Jonathan to our staff,” Muuss said. “He’s had a strong career both in the playing and coaching ranks and we expect him to fit right in with our current group of coaches.”

Short kicks

Goalie Andrew Pannenberg, a redshirt sophomore for the Deacons, earned a shutout in 120 minutes over the weekend to lead the Flint City Bucks past Reading to win the title in USL League Two, a developmental league. The game was played in front of more than 7,000 fans at Atwood Stadium in Flint, Mich. ... According to a poll conducted by the NCAA, Spry Stadium is one of the top 11 stadiums for watching college soccer. The poll was conducted through the use of Twitter and Facebook. Wake Forest is consistently one of the top drawing schools in the ACC. Last season, the Deacons went 13-2 at Spry Stadium and averaged just over 2,100 fans per game. “I think we have the best college soccer atmosphere in the country,” Muuss said last season. “I know our guys love playing at Spry Stadium.” The only other ACC stadium among the 11 listed was Louisville’s Dr. Mark & Cindy Lynn Stadium.

Keep up with all the latest on Wake Forest athletics, from analysis to features and lots more Deacons news you won’t find anywhere else.

jdell@wsjournal.com (336) 727-4081 @johndellWSJ

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