Breaking Down Men’s Soccer’s ACC Tournament Draw
By: Andrew Selover | @AndrewSelover
CitrusTV Men’s Soccer Beat Reporter
After a 12-2-3 regular season, Syracuse men’s soccer prepares for its ACC tournament run. The Orange finished at 5-1-2 in the ACC, good enough to earn the first ever outright ACC Atlantic title in school history. Because SU won the Atlantic division, Syracuse enters as the 2nd seed in the ACC tournament. Ahead of the tournament’s start on Wednesday, we dive deeper into the Orange’s route to the ACC tournament title.
Syracuse men’s soccer earned itself a bye through the first round as a top-4 seed. The Orange also hold home field advantage through the semifinals thanks to being a top-2 seed. For SU, the bye could prove important following a draining conclusion to the season. Syracuse appeared to run out of steam, finishing with two 1-1 draws against NC State and Boston College. The Eagles and Wolfpack combined for just three wins in the ACC, and both finished in the bottom-three of the conference. Nine days off before a quarterfinal appearance should help rejuvenate an Orange squad that started off conference play in dominant fashion.
Syracuse hosts the winner of Boston College at North Carolina. The Eagles travel to Chapel Hill on Wednesday to face the Tar Heels at 6 p.m. from Dorrance Field. The two teams tied 1-1 just ten days ago in Chestnut Hill. UNC tied its last three ACC games, finishing the regular season with a 2-2-4 conference record. Syracuse lost in 2OT in Chapel Hill in the first round of the ACC Tournament a year ago. If the Tar Heels protect home field advantage on Wednesday, revenge will be on the mind of the Orange in the quarterfinals. Syracuse and North Carolina did not play this season. As for Boston College, the Orange tied the Eagles 1-1 in the final regular season game at the SU Soccer Stadium. BC struck first on a corner kick goal, but Syracuse dominated for most of the game. The Orange created 14 shots in the second half but could not find a winner. The Eagles are a slightly more favorable matchup for the Orange compared to the Tar Heels. Based on last Friday’s game, Syracuse has the capability to trap the Eagles deep in their own half and dominate in possession. The Tar Heels present a tougher challenge to the Orange’s typical game plan. North Carolina went toe-to-toe with a number of the top ACC teams this season.
If the Orange advance into the semifinals, Syracuse hosts the winner of Virginia’s quarterfinal on Wednesday, Nov. 9 at the SU Soccer Stadium. UVA hosts the winner of Pittsburgh and NC State. The Cavaliers knocked off the 6th seeded Panthers 3-1 this season and did not face the 11th seeded Wolfpack. Virginia will be the favorite to make the semis from this quadrant, but Pitt has not lost since its loss to UVA at the end of September. It is hard to imagine that NC State is capable of upsetting both Pitt and Virginia on the road, but anything is possible in ACC soccer. The Cavaliers present an interesting challenge for the Orange. UVA handed SU its only ACC loss of the season 1-0. With that being said, the Orange were arguably the better team in that game despite playing with ten men for 70 minutes after a Jeorgio Kocevski red card. Syracuse did not face Pitt this season, but a Panthers vs. Orange semifinal would bring an electric rivalry atmosphere to the SU Soccer Stadium. No matter what, Syracuse must pass two tough tests in order to reach the championship.
The ACC Championship will be played on Sunday, Nov. 13 at WakeMed Park in Cary, NC. It is nearly impossible to predict the winner of the opposite side of the bracket. Clemson, Wake Forest, Louisville, and undefeated Duke all have championship aspirations. Syracuse knocked off the first three of those teams but never faced the Blue Devils. Duke is the first undefeated ACC team since 1968 and the top seed in the tournament. If anyone else wants to reach the title game, they must knock off the Blue Devils in Durham. Stay tuned to @AndrewSelover on Twitter for all the important tournament updates.