Home field advantage pivotal in ACC first round predictions
By Quinn Casteel | ACC Own the Pitch
ACC Tournament First Round
*All matches kick off at 7 p.m. ET
#9 Virginia Tech (7-9-3, 1-7-1) at #1 Maryland (14-2-1, 6-1-1) – Live Stats
The No. 1 Maryland Terrapins have the advantage of playing at home in addition to getting the Hokies on short rest, coming off a 3-2 win over NC State in the play-in match Monday afternoon, a game in which Virginia Tech scored three unanswered goals. The Terps lost their first and only conference match of the season on the last day of the regular season to Wake Forest. They beat Virginia Tech 2-0 on Sept. 21 in College Park.
Prediction: Maryland 2, Virginia Tech 0
#7 Duke (8-7-2, 3-4-1) at #2 North Carolina (14-2-1, 6-1-1) – 7 p.m. – Live Stats
North Carolina and the team’s team-wide defensive dominance is one of the best regular season performances in recent memory and on track to be either the best or second best Division I team ever in terms of goals against average for a season. The Tarheels have allowed only four goals all season having given up less than one every matches. No. 3 North Carolina appears to be on a fast track to a re-match with Maryland and perhaps eventually a high seed in the NCAA Tournament. Duke to UNC to overtime and lost 2-1 in Durham in the teams’ first meeting but odds favor a Tarheel shutout in this one.
Prediction: North Carolina 2, Duke 0
#6 Virginia (9-6-2, 3-4-1) at #3 Wake Forest (11-3-4, 4-1-3) – Live Stats
In terms of hot offenses right now in the ACC, Wake Forest is right up there. The Demon Deacons have not only a balanced scoring attack but a high volume one with Sean Okoli, Mikey Gamble and Luca Giminez. With the trio of goal scorers having combined for 23 already this season, it will be hard for Virginia to shut down all three options at once.
Prediction: Wake Forest 3, Virginia 0
#5 Boston College (8-5-4, 3-2-3) at #4 Clemson (6-8-4, 3-2-3) – Live Stats
Clemson and Boston College have both played good soccer at times this year and may be the two most evenly matched teams in this tournament, as their records and spots in the standings would indicate. Clemson’s last two conferences matches were a 3-0 blanking of Virginia Tech and a 2-2 tie against the top-ranked Terrapins, and the Tigers appear to be the hotter team with the upper hand playing at home where they have averaged over 2200 fans per match and one of the better atmospheres in college soccer.
Prediction: Clemson 1, Boston College 1 (Clemson wins in PKs)
About the ACC Tournament: The first round is played at the campus site of the higher seed and the four winners will advance to the semifinal round at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Germantown, Md. on Nov. 9, with games starting at 5:30 and 8 p.m. The ACC championship match will be played Sunday, Nov. 11 at the SoccerPlex at noon. Advance tickets can be found at https://tickets.mdsoccerplex.org/.