November 13, 2007

ACC tourney returns to SAS Soccer Park

By Tim Candon, Sports Editor - The Cary News

The 2007 ACC Men's Soccer Tournament returns to Cary's SAS Soccer Park for the fifth time in six seasons. It was held in Cary from 2002-05, before going to Germantown, Md., last year.

The tournament features nine of the ACC's 12 members (Georgia Tech, Miami and Florida State do not field men's soccer teams).

Boston College enters as the ACC regular-season champion after going 7-1 in conference play. It is the Eagles' first championship since joining the league in 2005.

Six teams are currently ranked in the Soccer America poll: No. 1 Wake Forest, No. 6 Boston College, No. 8 Virginia Tech, No. 15 Maryland, No. 21 Duke and No. 22 Virginia.


Play began Tuesday, with ninth-seeded N.C. State facing eighth-seeded Virginia.

A full slate of action is set for today.

12 p.m.: No. 5 Maryland vs. No. 4 Virginia Tech 2:30 p.m.: N.C. State/Virginia vs. No. 1 Boston College 5:30 p.m.: No. 6 North Carolina vs. No. 3 Duke 8 p.m.: No. 7 Clemson vs. No. 2 Wake Forest

The semifinals are Friday at 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.

The championship game is Sunday at 3:30 p.m.

Teams at a glace

• Boston college (12-4-1, 7-1-0)

Boston College clinched its first ACC championship after a 3-1 win Friday in Chestnut Hill, Mass., over Va. Tech. They won five of their final six regular-season games, including a 1-0 win over No. 1 Wake Forest on Oct. 27.

BC played only five games outside the Bay State this season but still fared quite well when it ventured south. The Eagles were 3-1 in ACC road games, two of which were just west of Cary, at Duke and at UNC. Their only hiccup in conference was a 1-0 loss at Clemson on Nov. 4.

The Eagles are led by midfielder Alejandro Bedoya (seven goals, nine assists) and midfielder/forward Sherron Manswell (eight goals, five assists).

Goalkeeper Chris Brown has conceded just 12 goals in 17 starts and has seven shutouts to his credit.

The Eagles are 6-1-0 this season against ranked opponents, having defeated No. 14 Fairfield (2-0), No. 6 Maryland (2-0), No. 4 Duke (4-2), No. 8 Virginia (2-1), No. 1 Wake Forest (1-0) and No. 8 Virginia Tech (3-1). In its previous two ACC tournaments, BC has not advanced beyond the quarterfinals. They lost 4-0 to Wake Forest in the first round in 2005, and 1-0 in double overtime last year to Maryland in the quarterfinals. • Wake Forest (15-1-2, 6-1-1)

Despite their runner-up finish in the conference, the Demon Deacons still hold the No. 1 national ranking in the Soccer America poll.

WFU closed the season with three straight wins, including a 2-0 win over North Carolina and a 3-1 win over Virginia, to finish the regular season with a program-best 15 wins.

Wake Forest features the league's most prolific attack (53 goals in 18 games) and stingiest defense (nine goals in 18 games). Wake Forest led the league in shutouts (11) and was last in saves (46). At one point this season, WFU had a five-match win streak in which they outscored their opponents 25-0.

Eight players have at least 10 points, with Hermann Trophy candidate Cody Arnoux leading the way (12 goals, five assists, 29 points).

Sophomore forward Zack Schilawski, a 2006 Cary High graduate, has seven goals and three assists. Goalkeeper Brian Edwards has a .45 goals against average, best in the ACC.

Wake Forest went to the NCAA College Cup last year and lost to UC-Santa Barbara in the national semifinals. • Duke (11-6-1, 4-3-1)

The Blue Devils have won the last two ACC tournaments. They beat Wake Forest 1-0 in overtime last year and North Carolina 5-4 on penalty kicks in 2005.

They led the ACC in shots (337) and were third in goals scored (38, 2.11 per game) this season.

Forward Mike Grella has 10 goals, six of which were game-winners, six assists and a league-high 77 shots. Duke was the preseason No. 1 team in the country.

In October, the Blue Devils suffered a three-game losing streak, where they were outscored 8-2 against Boston College, North Carolina and Wake Forest.

Coach John Rennie is in his 29th and final season with the Blue Devils. He has accumulated a 408-159-34 record as the Duke coach. • Virginia Tech (10-2-5, 3-1-4)

The Hokies have not advanced beyond the quarterfinals in any of their previous three ACC Tournament appearances.

They were superb in Blacksburg this season (5-0-1) and very strong on the road (5-2-4).

Virginia Tech outscored its opponents 42-21 and was more dangerous in the second half than the first (16 goals in the opening 45 minutes; 25 in the final 45).

Sixteen players have scored at least one goal.

Robert Edmans leads the team in scoring (seven goals, four assists). Patrick Nyarko and Georg Zehender each have four goals and seven assists. • Maryland (10-4-4, 4-3-1)

Maryland enters the tournament riding a 10-game unbeaten streak (7-0-3), the longest in the ACC. They beat North Carolina 2-1 in double overtime in Friday's regular-season finale.

The Terrapins appeared in the final the first three years the tournament was at SAS Soccer Park. They also reached the final in 2006, but they have not won since 2002.

The Terps struggled on the road (1-3-1) this season. They outscored their opponents 20-7 in the second half (12-8 in first) and outshot teams nearly 2-1.

Drew Yates leads the team with eight goals. Graham Zusi has five goals and six assists.

Midfielder Stephen King leads the ACC in assists, with 12.

Goalkeepers Will Swaim and Thorne Holder have split time. Swaim has nine starts, seven goals against, three shutouts and a 6-2-2 record. Holder has nine starts, a 1.11 GAA, two shutouts and a 4-2-2 record. • North Carolina (6-7-5, 3-5-0)

The Tar Heels come to Cary riding a three-game losing streak and they have their first regular-season losing record since 1997, when they finished 6-13-0.

The four previous times the ACC Tournament has been at SAS Soccer Park, UNC bowed in the first round three times. They have not won the tournament since 2000.

Elmar Bolowich's club has played in 10 games this season decided by one goal, and the Heels were 3-7 in those games. They outscored teams 15-7 in the first half, 11-10 in the second.

They were whistled for offsides 65 times (3.61 per game), more than anyone in the league.

They ranked eighth in scoring (1.50 goals per game) and fourth in goals against (.98) in the conference. Sophomore forward Bill Dworsky leads the team with six goals and four assists.

Junior midfielder Michael Callahan, a 2004 Green Hope High grad, has a team-high five assists.

Sophomore goalkeeper Brooks Haggerty, a 2006 Cary High grad, has appeared in four games and has a .64 GAA. • Clemson (7-10-1, 2-6-0)

The Tigers last won the ACC Tournament in 2001 and reached the final in 2002. This is the third straight year they are the No. 7 seed.

The Tigers enter the tournament having defeated BC 1-0 on Nov. 4 to end a three-game losing streak. That win nudged them past Virginia in the ACC standings and allowed them to avoid the first-round game.

Clemson played in a league-high 11 games decided by one goal, and the Tigers went 3-8 in those contests.

Goalkeeper Joseph Bendix had a league-high 89 saves. His 1.41 goals against average is second highest in the league, and the Tigers' three shutouts were the fewest in the ACC.

The Tigers also led the ACC in fouls, with 196 (16.44 per game) and they were cautioned 36 times (second-most).

Senior midfielder/forward Tate Parrish leads Clemson with six goals and six assists. • Virginia (10-6-2, 1-5-2)

Virginia appeared in the 2003 and 2004 tournament finals, beating Maryland both times.

Last year, they went to the NCAA College Cup, and lost to UCLA in the national semifinal.

The Cavaliers lost their last five ACC games and closed the season with road losses at Maryland and Wake Forest.

The Cavaliers were 0-5-1 against ranked teams this season.

Virginia was strong in Charlottesville (9-2-1) but struggled on the road (1-4-1).

Virginia features the ACC's leading goal scorer Yannick Reyering, a 6-foot-6 forward who has 13 goals. Ross LaBauex has six goals and three assists. • N.C. State (6-8-3, 1-6-1)

The Wolfpack finished last in the ACC for the second straight year and have posted a winning record in the league once since 1997.

Last year, they beat Va. Tech 4-3 in the first round to win their first ACC Tournament game since 2003 and score their first goal in the tournament since '03. State has made it to the semifinals once since 1993 and last won the tournament in 1990.

This year, State was solid at home (6-3-2); not so much everywhere else (0-5-1 away from Memorial Road Stadium).

The Wolfpack was the only team in the ACC to be outscored by its opponents (26-21) and they were outshot 120-63 by ACC teams.

State was the most cautioned team in the league (38 yellow cards; 2.24 per game).

The roster features 10 players from Wake County high schools.

Senior midfielder El Hadj Cisse leads the team with five goals, and Alan Sanchez has a team-high eight assists.

Sophomore defender Daniel Fish, a 2006 Athens Drive grad, has appeared in 17 games, with eight starts, and scored two goals and one assist.

Freshman defender Lucas Carpenter, a 2007 Apex High grad, has appeared in 17 games, including 10 starts.