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Nov 21, 2020

No. 2 Clemson Meets No. 1 Pittsburgh in ACC Championship Final Sunday

Clemson, S.C. — The second-ranked Clemson men’s soccer team will play for its 15th ACC title on Sunday, Nov. 22, against top-ranked Pittsburgh in the finals of the 2020 ACC Tournament. For the second-consecutive year, the title will be decided in a match featuring the nation’s top two teams. WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C., will play host to the top-ranked contest, with kickoff set for noon.

Sunday’s match will be the fifth time this season that Clemson plays a top-five opponent, with the five matches in a single season setting a new program record. Through the first four games, the Tigers are 2-1-1, notably defeating top-ranked Wake Forest on Oct. 13. Pittsburgh will enter tomorrow’s match as the nation’s top-ranked team for the fifth consecutive week.

A victory against Pittsburgh would give the program its second ACC Championship during Head Coach Mike Noonan’s tenure. Noonan led the team to its 15th ACC regular season championship during the 2019 campaign, making it the first time since 1998 that Clemson finished atop the conference at the end of the regular season. In 2014, the Tigers won their 14th ACC Championship by defeating Louisville, 2-1, thanks to the clinical finishing of Ara Amirkhanian in the 105th minute of the tournament’s final.

Clemson is one of four teams that has won three ACC Tournament championships in the event’s 34-year history. The Tigers’ three tournament titles are tied for the second-most by a program amongst current ACC member schools.

The series between Clemson and Pittsburgh started on Oct. 18, 2013, as the Tigers defeated the Panthers at Historic Riggs Field, 2-0. Clemson holds a 4-1 advantage in the series and has outscored Pittsburgh, 9-2. Sunday’s match at WakeMed Soccer Park will be the first neutral-site match in series history.

The two sides last met in the 2019 ACC Semifinals, as Clemson defeated Pittsburgh at home, 1-0. The game-winning goal was scored by Mohamed Seye in the 44th minute, giving the now sophomore forward his first goal in tournament play.

During the 2020 season, the two sides have each faced Duke, Virginia Tech, and Virginia. Clemson and Pittsburgh have gone undefeated against the three common opponents, respectively outscoring them, 8-3 and 9-5.

Clemson enters the ACC Final after outscoring its opponent in the opening two rounds of the tournament, 6-2. Clemson defeated Virginia Tech by a 4-1 margin in the quarterfinals, as Kimarni Smith recorded just the second hat-trick in tournament history and set a new conference record for most points in a single match by contributing seven in the Tigers’ effort. Grayson Barber has provided three assists this tournament and has set Clemson’s record for most career assists in ACC Tournament play, as the junior has four through his first three years in Tigertown.

The championship match will be the third game in eight days for each squad. The quick turnaround is nothing new for the Tigers, as this will be the third time this season that Noonan’s side will play three matches within eight days. This will be the first time this season that Pittsburgh has attempted this feat.

Sunday’s match will bring the Tigers’ 2020 fall season to a close, with the NCAA Tournament set to follow the conclusion of the 2021 spring season. For all of the most up-to-date information regarding Clemson men’s soccer, be sure to follow @ClemsonMSoccer on Twitter.