ACC Men’s Soccer Championship Preview – Semifinals

Championship Page | 2015 All-ACC Teams & Awards

The 2015 ACC Men's Soccer Championship continues tonight with the semifinals being played in Winston-Salem, N.C. and Clemson, S.C. Both matches will be played at 7 p.m. and available for viewing on ESPN3. Below is a preview of each match and a link to watch live!

#4 Notre Dame vs. #1 Wake Forest

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The Fighting Irish and Demon Deacons battle it out Wednesday night for a chance at an ACC Championship on Sunday afternoon.  These two teams met once already this season back in late October in Winston-Salem, when Wake Forest used a second half rally to win 2-1, ending Notre Dame's eight-game win streak.

Now, the stakes are higher between these two squads.  Both teams are coming off gut-wrenching wins, as Wake Forest defeated Louisville 2-1 in overtime and Notre Dame used a late goal against Virginia to secure the 1-0 win at home.

The Deacons come in as the No. 1 in the nation and haven't lost a game since back in September. Against the Cardinals, Jacori Hayes scored his fifth goal of the season in overtime to get the narrow victory.  Hayes, Jack Harrison, Jon Bakero, and others will have their hands full against a stingy Notre Dame team that gave them fits for much of the game a couple of weeks ago. 

Wake Forest will certainly be prepared on the defensive side of the ball, much like they have been all year, as they already have nine shutouts on the season and own a 6-1-2 against ranked opponents this season. 

For Notre Dame, Jon Gallagher (nine goals, three assists) will be the leader on offense for the Fighting Irish, as they look to repeat what they were able to do against Wake Forest in the first half back in October. 

Before this season, the last time these two teams meet up was back in the 2013 NCAA Tournament, when Wake Forest was the 14th seed and didn't muster enough fortitude against the No. 3 seed Notre Dame, as the Irish took home a 4-2 win to advance.

The winner of this game will head into the championship game on Sunday afternoon against the winner of Syracuse and Clemson.

 #7 Syracuse vs #3 Clemson 

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In the other matchup on Wednesday night, Syracuse travels down to South Carolina to take on a Clemson team that has been cruising in the win column since early September.  One of those victories came at Syracuse back in mid-October, when Kyle Murphy used a late goal (89:09 mark) to get the 1-0 win against Syracuse. 

The Orange, who are coming off a thrilling penalty-kick win against #2 North Carolina, certainly remember that loss, as some might have thought Syracuse outplayed the Tigers at home in that game.  Now, they head down south for revenge and to keep the dream alive of winning an ACC Championship.

For Clemson, it is all about Andrew Tarbell between the crossbars, as he finished the season ranked No. 1 in the ACC in saves (60), shutouts (8) and goals against average (.60).  The Tigers played extremely well on defense overall in their last outing against Boston College, as the Eagles only had two shots on goal.

On offense, T.J. Casner leads the team in goals, but the Tigers have several weapons on offense, as they have had 11 different players score a goal this season, including Kyle Murphy and Austen Burnikel who have seven each.

Syracuse does have their own weapon behind Julian Buescher, who had eight goals and seven assists on the season to lead the team in both categories.
Amazingly enough, the last three games between these two teams have ended in a 1-0 victory, with Syracuse holding a 2-1 edge in the matchup.  Should we expect anything other than a tight game, as these two teams battle it out for a chance to take home an ACC Championship?

The winner of this game will get the winner of Notre Dame vs Wake Forest on Sunday at 1:00 PM.