Five ACC Men's Soccer Teams Headed to the Elite Eight

After an NCAA-record nine teams in the 2016 tournament with eight advancing to the Round of 16, five ACC men's soccer teams advanced to the Elite Eight with wins on Sunday. Two of the league's three losses in the third round came at the hands of ACC opponents.

CLEMSON, S.C. - The third-ranked Clemson men’s soccer team advances to the Elite Eight for the second-straight year after defeating Albany, 3-1 at Historic Riggs Field on Sunday night. Clemson improves to (14-3-5), and Albany finishes the season (13-6-2) overall. The Tigers now turn their attention to Denver next Friday, Dec. 2 in the Elite Eight at Historic Riggs Field. The match is set to be played at 7:00 p.m.

In the first 15 minutes of play, both sides were trying to find a rhythm while play started out physical. The Tigers began to connect passes nicely, putting pressure on the Albany backline with 20 minutes left to play in the first half. With just one minute remaining in the first half, senior Austen Burnikel collected a pass from junior Oliver Shannon inside the box before turning and ripping a shot into the back of the net, giving the Tigers a 1-0 advantage heading into the break.

Albany quickly found the equalizer just two minutes into the second half when midfielder Carlos Clark was able to finish a loose ball inside the Clemson box. Despite play being physical, the first yellow card of the night was issued to Albany in the 68th-minute. In the 80th-minute Burnikel rose above the keeper for a header to find the back of the net for the second time in the match, giving Clemson a 2-1 advantage.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - For the second consecutive week, sophomores Danny Reynolds and Tate Schmitt combined for the decisive goal as the No. 4 University of Louisville men’s soccer team clinched its fourth NCAA Championship quarterfinal berth in the last seven seasons with a 3-1 victory over No. 13 Notre Dame in Sunday night’s third round match at Dr. Mark and Cindy Lynn Stadium.

With the score even at 1-1 in the 71st minute, Reynolds delivered a corner kick to the top of the six-yard box where Schmitt connected on a header scoring inside the left post to push the Cardinals (14-5-2) ahead for good. In last Sunday’s second round win over UCLA, Schmitt was on the receiving end of a cross from Reynolds before scoring on a header to lift Louisville to the overtime triumph. Along with Schmitt’s decisive goal, junior Mohamed Thiaw connected for a first half goal and freshman Cherif Dieye added a goal in the final 10 seconds of the match for the home side.

The Cardinals, playing in the Elite Eight round of the NCAA Championship for the first time since making three straight appearances from 2010-12, will host No. 5 Stanford on Saturday at 7 p.m., ET at Lynn Stadium with the winner advancing to the 2016 NCAA Men’s College Cup in Houston, Texas.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Freshmen Jeremy Kelly and Cam Lindley combined on a goal in the 32nd minute to give ninth-seeded North Carolina a 1-0 victory over eighth-seeded Syracuse (12-4-4) in the third round of the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship. The victory gives the Tar Heels their seventh quarterfinal appearance in the last nine years and 11th appearance in program history.

Tucker Hume and Alan Winn looked to strike first as they had back-to-back chances in the seventh minute of play, but both were repelled by Syracuse goalkeeper Hendrik Hilpert. Carolina goalkeeper James Pyle matched his counterpart with a great save after Johannes Pieles got free and threatened the Tar Heels' goal in the 14th minute. Just nine minutes later, Winn got behind the defense on the end line but neither him nor Zach Wright were able to get the ball past Hilpert.

The Tar Heel goal began with Lindley finding Kelly streaking up the left flank. Kelly cut between Syracuse defenders, made his way to the top of the box and found a gap in the left corner of the goal to put Carolina ahead.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The Virginia Tech men’s soccer team (13-4-4) defeated No. 7 Indiana University (12-2-7) 2-1 in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament Sunday afternoon. The Hokies were able to net the golden goal and advance to the Elite Eight.

The Hoosiers controlled the majority of the first twenty minutes, keeping the ball in Virginia Tech territory. The Hokies were able to get on the board first off their second shot of the day. Elias Tamburini crossed the ball inside the box and found the foot of Brendan Moyers for his first postseason goal. The first forty-five minutes came to a close with Tech up 1-0.

Indiana came out with a vengeance for the second half of play. The Hoosiers added 12 shots looking for that equalizer. They were successful in the 77th minute from a goal by Grant Lillard to tie it at 1-1.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Jon Bakero matched his career-high for the fourth time with two goals in Wake Forest's 2-1 victory over SIUE on Sunday evening at Spry Stadium in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Men's Soccer Tournament.

Wake Forest, now 17-2-3 on the season, is back in the Elite Eight for the second-straight season. It marks the first time since 2008 and 2009 the Demon Deacons are in the national quarterfinals in back-to-back seasons. With 17 wins on the year, it ties the 2015 and 2009 seasons for the fourth-most wins in a season in program history.

The Demon Deacons have now gone 11 games in a row without a loss, which ties for the sixth-best streak in program history. The stretch includes a 9-0-2 record with the two ties coming at then-No. 1 Notre Dame and then-No. 6 Syracuse. Last season, Wake Forest went on a 12-game unbeaten run, which is tied for the fifth-longest streak in program history.

STANFORD, Calif. – The Virginia men’s soccer team’s 2016 season came to an agonizing conclusion in a 1-0 double-overtime loss at Stanford Sunday evening in a third-round game in the NCAA Tournament at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium in Stanford, Calif. The contest was a matchup of the last two national champions – Virginia (2014) and Stanford (2015). 

Seeded No. 12 in the tournament, the Cavaliers finish their season with an 11-4-5 record.

Stanford scored the game’s lone goal with just over four minutes remaining in the second overtime session. On a long free kick deep into the box, the Cardinal’s Tomas Hillard-Arce challenged UVA goalkeeper Jeff Caldwell (Jr., Todd, N.C.) as he went up to punch the ball away. Hilliard-Arce got a head on the ball while colliding with Caldwell, and Stanford’s Foster Langsdorf dove to head the ball into the back of the net and score the golden goal.

Stanford out-shot Virginia, 17-9, but both teams put four shots on goal. UVA earned eight corner kicks, while Stanford took a pair of corners.