CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – No. 2 Virginia (16-1-1) and No. 1 Clemson (16-1-1) will go head-to-head on Sunday afternoon (Nov. 17) for the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. The match is set for a noon start and will air on ESPNU.
Game Coverage: In addition to the ESPNU broadcast, the game can also be streamed on the ESPN app for authenticated subscribers of ESPN. Links to the stream and in-game live stats will be available on VirginiaSports.com. Fans can also follow the Virginia men’s soccer official twitter account (@UVAMenSoccer) for in-game updates.
Ticket Information: Youth (18 and under) and ACC Students tickets are free. All adult tickets are $10 each. Tickets can be purchased on-site or online at TheACC.com.
• Virginia is back in the ACC Championship game for the second time in three seasons and is seeking its 16th ACC title.
• Head Coach George Gelnovatch has won four ACC Tournament Championships in his tenure – 1997, 2003, 2004, 2009. His teams have now been to the ACC Final 13 times in 24 seasons
• Clemson is Virginia’s third first-time opponent in the ACC Tournament. The Cavaliers did not face Syracuse (quarterfinal) or Wake Forest (semifinal) during the 2019 regular season.
• The Cavaliers and Tigers will meet in the ACC postseason for the first time since 2006. Virginia is 4-2-2 against Clemson in ACC Tournament action.
• Sunday will be the fourth time Virginia and Clemson meet in the ACC Title game (1993, 1995 & 2001). The Cavaliers took home the trophy in 1993 & 1995 and fell 1-0 in the 2001 Championship in Clemson.
• Virginia comes into the match winners of its last five matches, the second five-match win streak of the season.
• Clemson is the second No. 1 ranked team Virginia will face in 2019. The Cavaliers knocked off defending National Champion and then-No. 1 Maryland, 2-0 on Sept. 2 at Audi Field in Washington, D.C.
• The Tigers will be the eighth ranked opponent Virginia has faced this season and third in the last five games. The Cavaliers are 7-0 against teams from the United Soccer Coaches Top-25.
MEMORIES IN CARY
• Virginia has won two National Championships (2009 & 2014) and three ACC Titles (2002, 2003 & 2009) at Sahlens’s Stadium.
• In its last appearance in Cary, Virginia outlasted UCLA in penalty kicks to win the 2014 National Championship, the program’s seventh national title.
• The Cavaliers have been in Cary for 10 ACC Tournaments and two College Cups. Virginia owns a 16-5-3 all-time record at Sahlen’s Stadium.
• The Cavaliers come into Sunday with the lowest goals against average (0.33), highest save percentage (.885) and the most shutouts (13) in the country.
• Virginia’s 16 wins are tied with Clemson and Missouri State for the most in collegiate soccer.
• With identical 16-1-1 records, Virginia and Clemson own a .917 winning percentage, the third highest percentage in DI men’s soccer behind Missouri State (1.000) and St. Mary’s (.938)
• Virginia is one of eight programs nationally with one or no losses this season.
• The Cavaliers have conceded just six goals this season, the fewest in the country. Only two other teams – New Hampshire (7) and Georgetown (8) – have allowed less than 10 goals this season.
Virginia in the ACC Tournament
• The Cavaliers own the most wins (44), goals (115), finals appearances (20) and tournament titles (10) in 32 years of the ACC Tournament.
• The Cavaliers have made it to the ACC Championship game 20 times with the last appearance coming in 2017, a 0-0 draw and PK shootout loss to Wake Forest.
• The Cavaliers earned a first-round bye in this year’s tournament by winning the Coastal Division Championship for the first time in the current two-division format (2014-present).
• The No. 2 seed in the tournament is Virginia’s highest since 2005.
• The Cavaliers have earned a first-round bye once (2015) in the last six seasons.
• Virginia is 44-19-12 in ACC Tournament games.
• Nathaniel Crofts has scored two of the three Cavalier goals in the ACC Tournament. Four of his nine career goals have come in either the ACC or NCAA Tournament.
• Cavalier captain Robin Afamefuna recorded his third career assist in Wednesday’s semifinal win over Syracuse. The senior defender has started 41-straight games, the longest active streak on the team.
• Defenders Henry Kessler and Andreas Ueland are the only two Cavaliers that have played every minute of every game this season.
• Junior Joe Bell earned his first cap with the New Zealand full National Team on Thursday in a friendly against Ireland. He will play on Sunday for the All Whites against Lithuania before returning to the Cavaliers next week. Bell had started all 55 games of his collegiate career prior to missing Wednesday’s match.
• Filling a void left in the midfield by Bell, sophomore Cabrel Happi Kamseu made his first start of the season. Working through an injury-riddled year, Happi Kamseu was the Cavaliers co-leading scorer as a freshman last season with five goals.
• Striker Daryl Dike had his four-game point-streak snapped in Wednesday’s semifinal. His 21 points are the most by a Cavalier since Will Bates totaled 25 in 2012.
AGAINST NO. 1
• 2019 will mark the first time in program history Virginia has played two different teams ranked No. 1 in the country in the same season. Virginia played top-ranked Wake Forest twice in 2008.
• Virginia has squared off against the No. 1 team in the country in each of the last three seasons.
• The Cavaliers have been part of a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup five different occasions, three times in the National Championship game including the 2009 National Title game in Cary.
Virginia in No. 1 vs. No. 2 Games
(1) Virginia vs. (2) Akron (Dec. 13, 2009) – T, 0-0*
(1) Virginia vs. (2) Duke (Oct. 5, 1992) – L, 1-1
(1) Virginia vs. (2) Santa Clara (Dec. 8, 1991) – T, 0-0*
(2) Virginia vs. (1) Santa Clara (Dec. 3, 1989) – T, 1-1 *
(1) Virginia vs. (2) Indiana (Sept. 2, 1989) – W, 1-0
George Gelnovatch vs. No. 1 Team (5-3-4)
9/2/19 (12) Maryland (1) N W, 2-0
10/19/18 (6) Wake Forest (1) H T, 0-0 (2ot)
11/12/17 (17) Wake Forest (1) # N T, 0-0 (2ot)
11/30/14 (16) Notre Dame (1) $ A W, 1-0
11/15/13 (12) Notre Dame (1) #! N T, 3-3 (2ot)
10/5/12 Maryland (1) A L, 0-1
12/13/09 (2) Akron (1) $ ! N W, 0-0
11/14/08 Wake Forest (1) # N W, 3-2
11/7/08 Wake Forest (1) H L, 0-2
11/27/04 (4) New Mexico (1) $ ! H T, 1-1 (ot)
9/7/03 UCLA (1) N L, 0-4
11/15/02 (11) Wake Forest (1) # N W, 1-0
# – ACC Tournament | $ – NCAA Tournament
*Virginia Ranking listed in front, opponent Ranking at end
HOW WE GOT HERE
vs. Wake Forest
• The Cavaliers reached the 16-win plateau for the first time since 2009 after a 1-0 shutout of Wake Forest in the ACC semifinal. Virginia has won 16 games under Gelnovatch eight times.
• Nathaniel Crofts was credited with the game-winner in the 25th minute off a sequence setup by Daniel Steedman and Robin Afamefuna.
• Virginia held Wake Forest to just one shot on goal and five shots total in its NCAA-best 13th shutout of the season.
• Virginia scored two goals in the first 18 minutes of action in the quarterfinal round against 10th-seeded Syracuse. Joe Bell converted his team-high, third PK in the 11th minute and was followed by Nathaniel Crofts’ fourth goal of the season in the 18th minute.
• Syracuse became just the fifth team to score against the Cavaliers this season, cutting the Cavalier lead in half on a goal by Luther Archimede in the 70th minute.
• The Cavaliers withstood a late Syracuse charge, fending off the game’s final four shots and two corner Orange kicks in the final 20 minutes.
VIRGINIA IN THE POLLS
• The Cavaliers came in at No. 2 in this week’s United Soccer Coaches Top-25 poll. It’s spent 10-straight weeks in the top-7 and a total of eight in the top-5
• TopDrawerSoccer.com and College Soccer News each have Virginia as the No. 1 team in the country.
• Coming into Wednesday’s match, Virginia also occupies the top spot in the latest NCAA RPI rankings while Clemson is ranked fourth.
• Back on Nov. 1, the NCAA DI men’s soccer selection committee released its top 16 rankings and Virginia came in at No. 2.
REGULAR SEASON TO REMEMBER
• Virginia won six ACC games for the fifth time in program history (1984, 1986, 2001, 2005 & 2019) and third under head coach George Gelnovatch.
• Gelnovatch was a player on the 1984 and 1986 teams that won six ACC games and later as head coach led the Cavaliers to six league victories in 2001, 2005 and 2019.
• Virginia won its first Coastal Division Championship under the current two-division format (2014-present). The regular season crown is the first since 2001 and the third under Gelnovatch (1996, 2001, 2019).
• Virginia won 14 regular season games for the first time since winning 15 matches in 2006.
• The Cavaliers won all eight of its non-conference matches and did not concede a goal in their non-conference slate for the first time in school history. The non-conference schedule included a 2-0 win over then-No. 1 and defending National Champion Maryland at Audi Field on Sept. 2.
• Virginia allowed only five goals in 16 regular season games, matching a school record set in 1969 (10 games) and 1988 (18 games).
• Virginia spent three weeks as the nation’s No. 1 team in the United Coaches Top 25 poll. The Cavaliers were ranked No. 12 in the preseason, jumped five spots in week one and have not been outside the top seven since.
• Virginia has produced a shutout in 13 of its 18 matches this season, the most in the country.
• Under George Gelnovatch, the Cavaliers have reached 10+ shutouts, eight times including the National Championship seasons of 2009 and 2014.
• The 12 clean sheets in the regular season were the most in Gelnovatch’s tenure and tied for fourth most in UVA history.