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Sep 07, 2012

ACC kicks off conference play Friday night with three in-house matches

Three intriguing ACC match-ups will take center stage tonight as the league enters its first day of conference play.

Perhaps the most intriguing of those match-ups is No. 4 Maryland taking on No. 24 Boston College on the road. It will be the first test away from the friendly confines of College Park for the Terps, who have faired very well against some of the country’s best to this point.

Maryland’s Widner Saint Cyr (Photo from Maryland Athletics).

Sasho Cirovski’s bunch has beaten Louisville in dominating fashion, drew UCLA and pummeled California 6-0 in their most recent game. However, tonight will be the first time the Terps hit the road all season as they travel to Boston to take on the Eagles who have been ranked as high as 13 this season.

John Stertzer (3 goals, 1 assist), Patrick Mullens (1 goal, 5 assists) and Jordan Cyrus (2 goals) have led Maryland’s offense to this point. Boston College has played only three matches to this point, defeating Quinnipiac and Fairfield 1-0, and getting upset by Boston University by the same score. The Eagles have ridden a dominant defense and some phenomenal goalkeeping from Justin Luthy, who has allowed only one goal on the young season. Friday night will be the first opportunity for a marquee win for the Eagles if they are able to pull of the upset against a strong Maryland team.

Also on the docket tonight in ACC action are match-ups between No. 15 Wake Forest and Clemson, and two struggling teams in Duke and Virginia. Wake Forest has looked as strong as any team in the league to this point, rolling through Wofford, Boston University and West Virginia in their first three games. The Demon Deacons are tied for second in the ACC in assists per game (2.00) and are tied for first with UNC in goals allowed (1).

Clemson’s Phanuel Kavita (Photo from Clemson Athletics).

Despite Clemson’s pedestrian 1-2-1 record through four matches, support for the team on campus could not be better. The Tigers are expecting 7000 fans tonight at their home stadium Historic Riggs Field as they try to upset one of the top 15 teams in the country. If the Tigers are to pull off the upset, they will need to find a way to spark their offense which is currently ranked last in the ACC in almost every major offensive category.

Friday night is going to be an extremely important one for Duke (1-2-0) and Virginia (1-2-0), two sleeping giants looking to get back on the right track. The Blue Devils found their first taste of success last weekend with a 2-1 overtime win over Delaware, and will look to build on that momentum. The Cavaliers have lost two overtime matches to top 15 teams in UCLA and Georgetown, but will face plenty more tough match-ups as the season goes on. Freshman Zach Carroll and Ryan Zinkhan have paced the Virginia offense so far, combining for three goals.

Falling to 1-3 would be difficult to face for either of these storied teams, so Friday should be considered a must-win for both sides. Look for a close match, as these teams have gone into overtime in four of their last six meetings. The Blue Devils and Cavaliers are each 37-37-8 against each other all time, so barring a tie, one team will come out on top tonight.

N.C. State, the ACC’s first four-win team, is continuing non-conference play with a match against in-state opponent UNC Greensboro.

Follow the ACC Own the Pitch’s Weekend Scoreboard for results of all the Week 3 ACC action.



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