ACC Semifinals Preview: No. 2 Maryland to face Clemson in night cap
The No. 2 ranked Maryland Terrapins (15-1-2) will face the Clemson Tigers (6-8-5) in the night cap of Friday’s ACC Semifinals doubleheader at the Maryland SoccerPlex with kickoff set for 8 p.m.
On Tuesday in the quarterfinals, the Terps beat ninth seeded Virginia Tech 2-1 at home and the Tigers beat Boston College in penalty kicks following a scoreless regulation and overtime. Clemson took the fourth seed away from the Eagles on the final day of the regular season, and it would end up proving pivotal as the Tigers were able to eek out a win on their home turf instead of having to do it in Boston.
Clemson is one of the hotter teams right now in the ACC, having not lost a conference match in over a month when the Tigers fell 2-0 to No. 3 North Carolina on Oct. 5. Austin Savage’s eight goals, good for sixth in the ACC, have paced Clemson to this point while Manolo Sanchez has posted a team-high five assists.
Clemson earned a 2-2 draw with Maryland in the teams’ only regular season meeting on Oct. 27, which took place in College Park. The match ruined the Terps’ then unblemished 6-0 conference record by scoring two goals within six minutes of each other in the second half to tie the game.
It is unlikely, however that the regular season will be on the mind of the Maryland players and coaches. For most of the season the Terps were the steady No. 1 team in the country, losing just once all season on the final day of ACC play to No. 13 Wake Forest 4-2.
Maryland forward Patrick Mullins was named ACC Offensive Player of the Year earlier this week for his conference-leading 12 goals and eight assists which were good for second in the ACC behind only N.C. State’s Alex Martinez. Meanwhile, head coach Sasho Cirovski earned the conference’s Coach of the Year award for leading the team to its best start to a season (14-0-1) in program history in his 20th year at the university. The Terps had five other players earn first and second team honors as well.
In order to move on to Sunday’s ACC Championship, Clemson’s defense will have to find a way to limit the ACC’s Offensive Player of the Year and the rest of Maryland’s elite scorers, who combined for a league-high 46 goals this season. The Tigers ranked sixth in the ACC in total defense this season but have recorded back-to-back shutouts entering Friday’s match.
Online tickets for both of Friday’s ACC Semifinals matches are available at until 3:30 p.m. today: https://tickets.mdsoccerplex.org/.
Weekend passes admit entry into both of Friday’s semifinal matches and Sunday’s championship match, with online ticket purchases providing eTickets, enabling fans to self-print tickets at home and proceed directly to the gates at the stadium. ACC Student pricing is $5 both online and at the stadium while supplies last, with purchasers required to show a current ACC student ID for each ticket at the gate for eTickets or at box office at time of purchase for walk-ups.