Semifinal Matchup's Set for 2016 ACC Women's Soccer Championship

Notre Dame, Clemson, North Carolina and Florida State all advance 

GREENSBORO, N.C. - Notre Dame, Clemson, North Carolina and Florida State are headed to the 2016 Atlantic Coast Conference Women's Soccer Championship Semifinals. 

Sunday's quarterfinal action at the campus sites of the higher seeded teams found No. 1 Notre Dame blanking No. 8 NC State, 1-0, No. 2 Clemson edging No. 7 Miami in penalty kicks, 5-4, following a 1-1 draw, No. 6 Florida State also advancing in penalty kicks, 3-2, over Duke following a 1-1 tie, and No. 4 North Carolina topping No. 5 Virginia, 3-0. 

The tournament now moves to MUSC Health Stadium in Charleston, South Carolina, where Notre Dame (13-2-4) will face North Carolina (12-3-3) in the first semifinal at 5:30 p.m., and Clemson (13-3-3) meets Florida State (12-3-3) in the second semifinal at 8 p.m. Both games will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra. 

The winners advance to next Sunday's Noon championship match, which will be televised on ESPNU.

The Fighting Irish topped the Tar Heels, 1-0, in the two teams' regular season meeting at Notre Dame on Oct. 14, while the Tigers and the Seminoles did not play each other this season. All four semifinalists entered the tournament ranked inside the top 16 of both the NSCAA and Soccer America polls. 

Defending ACC champion Florida State is looking for its fourth straight title and fifth overall, while the Tar Heels seek their 22nd ACC Championship. Clemson and Notre Dame are each in search of their first ACC tournament crown. 

#1 Notre Dame Defeats #8 NC State

NOTRE DAME, Ind. ( Another late goal in a tightly battled defensive stalemate gave the University of Notre Dame women's soccer team a lift, this time to keep their ACC tournament championship title hopes alive in a 1-0 victory over NC State on Sunday at Alumni Stadium.

Junior forward Kaitlin Klawunder buried a rebound shot with less than three minutes left in regulation to give the Irish the lead, tracking on junior forward Karin Muya's header attempt and slipping it into the far post beyond Wolfpack goalkeeper Sydney Wootten.

The goal punctuated a late offensive surge by the Irish, who had struggled throughout most of the first 70 minutes to create scoring opportunities. As time wound down, the Irish spent more time on the ball in their offensive third, culminating in the late score.

NC State (10-8-1) outshot the Irish (12-2-4) 11-6, including 6-3 in shots on goal. It was the fifth straight shutout for the Irish and senior goalkeeper Kaela Little (six saves), who have still allowed just one goal at home all season.

It was the second game of the season in which the Irish registered a late goal to seal a 1-0 win. The Irish closed out the regular-season road slate with a goal in the 88th minute against Wake Forest on October 23.

#4 North Carolina Defeats #5 Virginia

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (–  For the second time in four days the University of North Carolina women’s soccer team knocked off a Top 10-ranked team in shutout fashion as the Tar Heels beat #7 Virginia Sunday afternoon 3-0 at Fetzer Field in the 2016 Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament quarterfinals.

Goals by Madison Schultz, Sarah Ashley Firstenberg and Morgan Goff were the difference in the game as the Tar Heels (12-3-3) earned their first ACC Tournament win since the 2013 quarterfinal round and its first win over Virginia since 2010.  The Cavaliers fell to 13-4-2 with the loss.

UNC scored twice in the first half on defensive hustle plays.  Freshman Madison Schultz, who scored her first career goal in UNC’s win last Thursday over #8 Florida State, stole the ball from Virginia goalkeeper Morgan Stearns in the penalty box.  Stearns had received a back pass from a Virginia defender but Schultz put her under pressure, causing the turnover and then shooting around Stearns into the lower left side of the goal from 12 yards.

Just over six minutes later, another hustle play by a Tar Heel forward results in the second goal of the game with just 17 seconds left before halftime.  Sarah Ashley Firstenberg jumped on a ball near midfield after a misplay by Virginia and dribbled down the left side for 45 yards into the penalty area before she finished skillfully from 15 yards out into the right side netting.  Like Schultz’s tally, it was Firstenberg’s second goal of the season.  Firstenberg’s other goal this season was the game-winning tally in the Tar Heels’ season-opening 2-0 win over UCF on August 19.

UNC and Virginia both took seven shots in the game.  UNC had the only three corner kicks.  Harris had three saves for the Tar Heels while compiling the clean sheet.

#6 Florida State draws #3 Duke,  Seminoles advance in shootout
DURHAM, N.C. ( – After taking a first half lead against fifth-ranked and sixth-seeded Florida State, the sixth-ranked and third-seeded Duke women’s soccer team failed to advance in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals falling to the Seminoles, 3-2, in penalty kicks at Koskinen Stadium Sunday afternoon. 

With Florida State advancing, the Seminoles will move on to face second-seeded Clemson, who moved on after holding a 5-4 advantage in penalty kicks against Miami.  Duke (12-4-3) will await the NCAA Tournament selection show Monday, Nov. 7.  

At the end of regulation, Florida State held a 13-5 shot advantage as Duke was limited to only one attempt in the second half.  

Duke was held without a shot in the first overtime, while the Seminoles nearly ended the match with 27 seconds remaining, but Kaycie Tillman’s tap towards the right post went just outside.  

The Blue Devils attempted three shots in the second overtime by Burns, freshman Olivia Erlbeck and Miller, but none were on frame.  

In penalty kicks, Duke dug itself into a hole by missing its first three attempts by Burns (saved), Gibbons (missed) and Dorsey (saved).  After Florida State made its first attempt, Proctor saved a shot by Castellanos to give Duke a chance still.  Erlbeck and Allen made their next two attempts, but Connolly finished off the final kick to advance by a 3-2 ledger.  
Proctor, who hails from Wilson, N.C., tied a career high with 10 saves on the afternoon.  Duke was 12-0-0 heading into the match Sunday when scoring first.  

With her assist on the afternoon, Stevens moved into a tie for ninth on Duke’s single season freshman charts with 20 points.

#2 Clemson draws #7 Miami, Tigers advance in shootout

CLEMSON, S.C. ( – The Tigers were five-for-five on penalty kicks and senior keeper Kailen Sheridan came up with a huge stop on Miami’s third attempt, sending the 14th-ranked Clemson women’s soccer team to the ACC Semifinals for the second-consecutive year. The Tigers (13-3-3) and Miami (10-8-1) tied 1-1 in regulation at Historic Riggs Field on Sunday, before Clemson advanced 5-4 in penalty kicks.

In the first half, Catrina Atanda netted her 12th goal of the season less than 10 minutes in to give Clemson a 1-0 lead. Senior Gabby Byorth handled the throw-in, which senior Abby Jones crossed into the box to Atanda, who scored from six yards. The Hurricanes evened the score a 1-1 in the 26th minute, when Gianna Dal Pozzo chipped Shannon McCarthy’s free kick over the head of Clemson keeper Kailen Sheridan.

For the remaining 65 minutes, plus two 10-minute overtime periods, neither team was able to find the net. The Tigers had several chances, outshooting the Hurricanes 19-9 overall and 7-4 in shots on goal, but weren’t able to capitalize. Sheridan tallied three saves and Phallon Tullis-Joyce picked up six in 110 minutes of play.

In the penalty kick round, Miami made its first two shots, and Atanda and Sheridan were successful on the Tigers’ first two shots. On the Hurricanes’ third attempt, Sheridan made the save on Kristina Fisher’s shot, and senior Jenna Weston followed with a make to put Clemson up 3-2. From there, Miami made its fourth and fifth attempts, but so did senior Katie Sprouse and junior Shannon Horgan, to secure the ACC Semifinal berth for Clemson.

The Tigers face Florida State in the ACC Semifinals on Friday, Nov. 4 at 8 p.m. at MUSC Health Stadium in Charleston, S.C. The Seminoles tied Duke 1-1 in the quarterfinals, and advanced over the Blue Devils on penalty kicks, 3-2.