CLEMSON, S.C. — The No. 4 Clemson Tigers will face the No. 5 Virginia Tech Hokies in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament on Sunday, Nov. 15 at noon in Durham, N.C. Clemson enters the tournament as the third seed in the ACC’s South Region, while Virginia Tech received the second seed in the North Region. Sunday’s match will be just the second neutral site meeting between the Tigers and Hokies, with the first occurring on Nov. 10, 2009, when Clemson prevailed with a 2-0 result in the first round of the ACC Tournament.
With the 2020 ACC Tournament set to get underway at noon on Sunday, Clemson will be playing in its 57th match in tournament history. Since the ACC Tournament started in 1987, Clemson has been crowned champions three times, with the titles earned in 1998, 2001 and 2014. While North Carolina has been Clemson’s most common opponent in the ACC Tournament, as the two sides have met on ten occasions, Sunday’s match will be just the second between Clemson and Virginia Tech.
The Tigers and Hokies first played against one another on Nov. 21, 2003, as Clemson traveled to Blacksburg, Va., to play in the NCAA Round of 32. The two sides have met a total of 15 times, with Clemson holding a 7-3-5 record. Since being named head coach of the Tigers, Mike Noonan has gone 4-0-3 against the Hokies. This year’s quarterfinal match will be the first meeting between the two sides since Oct. 5, 2019, when they played to a 0-0 result under the lights of Historic Riggs Field.
With both teams ranked within the national Top 5 poll released by United Soccer Coaches this week, Sunday’s match will be the first top-5 meeting in series history. During the regular season, Clemson played in three games against Top 5 opponents.
Clemson returns to game action after an extended period of downtime, as the Tigers’ last match was played on Oct. 30 in Winston-Salem, N.C. The Tigers finished the regular season with a record of 5-2-1, 13 goals scored and three clean sheets. Clemson holds a record of 2-2 when playing away from home this season, with the Tigers’ two victories coming against South Carolina and NC State.
The opening eight matches of the season saw Clemson emerge as a dynamic team, as 22 players contributed quality minutes across multiple matches. Kimarni Smith was the Tigers’ most prolific finisher in front of goal, as the senior scored four goals and recorded 10 points in the eight games. Oskar Agren, Justin Malou and Charlie Asensio have been the Tigers’ leaders on defense, as the three have started each match this season. George Marks has earned seven starts in net for Clemson, recording 19 saves throughout the season and earning the second-most minutes by a goalkeeper in the nation.
This year’s team will look to emulate last year’s stellar performance by the Tigers in the opening two rounds of the ACC Tournament. The opening pair of matches saw the Tigers defeat Notre Dame and Pittsburgh en route to securing a spot in the 2019 ACC Championship match against Virginia. In the Tigers’ three ACC Tournament matches last year, the team recorded 61 shots, the most by a Clemson team in the 33-year history of the tournament.
The 2020 ACC Tournament features a unique layout when compared to previous editions of the tournament. The quarterfinal and semifinal rounds will be played at the ACC’s four North Carolina schools. The winner of Sunday’s noon match between Clemson and Virginia Tech will play the winner of Sunday’s 4 p.m. match between Virginia and Wake Forest. For Clemson’s contest at Duke, no spectators will be permitted entry into Koskinen Stadium.
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