Nov. 7, 2017
2017 NOTRE DAME MEN'S SOCCER – Match 19
ACC CHAMPIONSHIP SEMIFINAL
#13 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (11-5-2, 3-3-2 ACC) vs. #17 Virginia Cavaliers (11-3-4, 3-2-3 ACC)
DATE: Nov. 8, 2017
TIME: 7 p.m. (ET)
LOCATION: Charlottesville, Virginia (Klöckner Stadium – 8,000)
BROADCAST: ACC Network Extra
LIVE STATS: Gametracker
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – A trip to the final game of the 2017 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Championship is on the line for the University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team on Wednesday. The seventh-seeded Irish travel to Charlottesville, Virginia, to face the sixth-seeded Cavaliers at 7 p.m. (ET) inside Klöckner Stadium. The semifinal matchup in the ACC tournament will air live on ACC Network Extra.
No. 13 Notre Dame (11-5-2) earned its spot in the semifinals of the ACC Championship by downing No. 3 North Carolina 2-1 on Sunday in Cary. The Irish have now earned seven results against top 25 foes ranked in the United College Soccer Coaches poll at game time, including three victories over current RPI top 25 opponents. Senior forwards Jon Gallagher (first team) and Jeff Farina (third team) were each named to ACC all-conference teams on Tuesday.
No. 17 Virginia (11-3-4) claimed host rights for the ACC tournament semifinal round after battling the third seed Louisville to a 0-0 draw on Sunday. The Cavaliers outlasted the Cardinals 4-3 on penalties to advance in the championship bracket. Virginia has won four ACC Championship titles (1997, 2003, 2004, 2009) under head coach George Gelnovatch.
Irish Upset #3 UNC 2-1 In ACC QF
In a game in which second-seeded North Carolina saw arguably longer stretches of possession, seventh-seeded Notre Dame answered with better quality on offense. A lockdown defensive performance against one of the top attacks in the nation, and timely goals from seniors Blake Townes and Jon Gallagher, were the recipe in leading the Irish over the No. 3 Tar Heels 2-1 on Sunday in a quarterfinal of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Championship at WakeMed Soccer Park.
North Carolina finished the contest with a 12-7 edge in total shots, but Notre Dame controlled the shots on goal count by a 4-3 margin. The Irish held North Carolina to five total attempts in the second half, on their way to outshooting the Tar Heels 6-5 in the frame. Notre Dame has officially reached the semifinal round of the ACC Championship for the fourth time in five seasons since joining the ACC in 2013. North Carolina has not won in its first ACC tournament game in each of those five campaigns. The Tar Heels are 0-4-1 since reaching the tournament final in 2012, where they lost to Maryland 2-1 in Germantown, Maryland.
Irish In The RPI
In the sixth release of the ratings percentage index (RPI) by the NCAA for the 2017 Division I men’s soccer season, Notre Dame vaulted to the seventh slot in the week six rankings after a 2-0 ACC Championship start. The Irish have faced the second-hardest schedule in the entire NCAA as of Nov. 6, with their opponent’s strength of schedule rated first among all teams across the country who compete in Division I men’s soccer.
Notre Dame has compiled a 3-4-2 record against teams in the current top 25 of the RPI this season. The Irish defeated No. 1 North Carolina 2-1 on Sunday, No. 5 Clemson 2-1 on Oct. 6 and No. 12 Michigan 3-1 on Oct. 10. Notre Dame has added draws with No. 3 Duke (0-0) on Oct. 20 and No. 11 Virginia (1-1) on Sept. 29. In fact, all eight ACC opponents that Notre Dame faced in the regular season are in the current RPI top 50. Along with Duke, Clemson, Virginia and North Carolina, the Irish have also taken on No. 21 Virginia Tech, No. 26 Pittsburgh, No. 45 NC State and No. 50 Boston College.
The ACC remains the far and away top-ranked conference in the league RPI standings this season, with six members rated among the top seven in the country as of Nov. 6. The ACC is projected to receive upward of eight NCAA Championship bids.
Townes In Charge During ACCs
Senior midfielder Blake Townes has raised his game to the next level thus far for Notre Dame over the first two games of the 2017 ACC Championship. Already established as one of the best holding midfielders in the country, Townes has also begun flexing his muscle in the offensive third.
Townes found his first goal of 2017 in the 11th minute against Pittsburgh on Nov. 1, before adding the initial Irish score on Sunday in the sixth minute against No. 3 North Carolina.
Gallagher Adds Another Winner
For the fifth time in 2017, senior forward Jon Gallagher connected on a game-winning goal in crunch time for Notre Dame. Gallagher headed home a feed from Jeff Farina and Felicien Dumas for his team-high 12th overall goal of the season in the 78th minute against No. 3 North Carolina on Sunday. Farina is second behind Gallagher on the Irish roster with three game-winning goals thus far this season.
Prior ND ACC Tourney Runs
Notre Dame has reached the semifinal round or beyond in the ACC Championship for the fourth time in five seasons as a conference member in 2017. The Irish have made ACC tournament semifinal appearances in 2013, 2014 and 2017, and hosted the championship final in 2015 at Alumni Stadium.
Notre Dame and Virginia have met five prior times in both the ACC and NCAA tournaments dating back to the 2006 season, with the postseason head-to-head series tied 2-2-1 between the squads in that time. Notre Dame downed the Cavaliers 1-0 on Nov. 8, 2015 in the NCAA Round of 16 in the most recent November showdown.
Virginia enters Wednesday’s game with an 11-3-4 record this season, earning its spot in the semifinals of the ACC Championship following a scoreless draw with third-seeded Louisville on Sunday. The Cavaliers outlasted the Cardinals 4-3 on penalties to advance in the ACC tournament. A total of nine of Virginia’s 18 games this season have gone to overtime, including a 1-1 draw with Notre Dame on Sept. 29 at Alumni Stadium.
Head coach George Gelnovatch is 306-124-53 (.688) in his 22nd season at the helm of Virginia, and has led the Cavaliers to ACC titles in 1997, 2003, 2004 and 2009. The Hoos also claimed national championships to cap the 2009 and 2014 seasons.