The ACC remains strong in the College Soccer News’ Top 30 poll as the league owns five of the top 15 spots, including four of the top 11 positions. North Carolina is currently ranked No. 4, while reigning national champion Virginia, Maryland, and Duke follow close behind at No. 6, No. 7 and No. 11, respectively. Boston College and Wake Forest make-up the remaining programs nationally ranked in the CSN poll. Five ACC programs also rank among the Top 20 of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America/HendrickCars.com weekly poll. North Carolina (No. 4) is joined by Maryland (No. 6), Virginia (No. 7), Boston College (No. 17), and Duke (No. 19) as top 20 selections.
Maryland junior midfielder Matt Kassel was named Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Soccer Player of the Week after helping his eighth-ranked Terrapins to a 2-0 victory over ACC foe and ninth-ranked Duke last week, improving Maryland to 5-2-1 on the year and 2-1-1 in league play. Kassel provided his Terrapins with the game-winner Friday night against Duke in front of a Ludwig Field record crowd of 7,260. The junior from Bridgewater, N.J., nailed his penalty kick in the 34th minute to spark the Terps to their second conference win of the 2010 campaign. Playing an integral role in holding one of the nation’s leading scorers in Ryan Finley (9th) to a mere three shots and zero goals, Kassel now leads the team in goals (4) and points (12).
North Carolina junior midfielder Kirk Urso scored the game-winner in UNC’s 1-0 win at No. 4 Virginia on Oct. 1, snapping a 16-game unbeaten streak in Charlottesville. The goal also pushed Carolina to 4-0 in the ACC for the first time in school history. Urso currently ranks third in the league with two game-winners this year.
Redshirt senior goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald made five saves last week and earned his second shutout of the season in win against Virginia Tech on Oct. 1. Fitzgerald made three saves against the Hokies to lead the Demon Deacons to a 3-0-0 record in ACC play. The shutout was his second of the season and lowered his goals against average on the year to 1.08. Fitzgerald has now made 35 saves and has a .778 save percentage on the season after the five saves recorded during the past week.
The ACC Men’s Soccer Tournament has crowned a different champion in each of the past four years (Virginia, ‘09; Maryland, ‘08; Boston College, ‘07; and Duke, ‘06). Two of those four went on to become the national champions (UVa & Md).
Four NC State freshmen were named to TopDrawerSoccer’s Top 100 Freshmen list. The Pack led all ACC teams with four selections, as midfielders Christopher Figueroa and Mamadou Kansaye and defenders Gbengha Makinde and Sonny Mukungu were all named.