ACC Women's Tournament Quarterfinal Results And Semifinal Prognosis

Florida State faces Duke at 5:30 p.m. and North Carolina tangles with Virginia at 8 p.m. in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament on Friday, November 13, 2020 at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina.  

Florida State 2 – Notre Dame 0 – A compact Notre Dame defense kept an explosive Florida State offense in check until junior midfielder Jaelin Howell drove a header into the far post out of a perfectly centered corner kick played in by sophomore forward Jenna Nighswonger in the final minute of the first stanza. Howell’s goal changed the trajectory of the contest and gave the Noles momentum heading into intermission.

Redshirt senior midfielder Clara Robbins gave FSU a 2-0 lead in the 78th minute when she skillfully one touched a loose ball from just outside the box and sent a low shot that glanced off  the right post and into the back of the net in the 78th minute.  

Florida State had a commanding 17 to 4 advantage in shots for the evening with a four to zero advantage in shots on goal. FSU has outscored its opponents 27 to 4 thus far with an impressive 161 to 27 advantage in shots.

The Seminoles improve to 9-0-0 and advance to the semifinals on Friday where they will square off with Duke.

FSU head coach Mike Krikorian stated, “I thought overall our team performed pretty well. We came in here and played a very hardworking and organized Notre Dame team. They made it difficult for us and they had a lot of numbers behind the ball and a great compact defense.”

The eight-seeded Irish gave it their best and made the contest interesting but at the end of the day it was not enough to secure the win. Notre Dame concludes the fall season with a 4-5-0 record.

Duke 1 – Clemson 0 – Duke gutted out a hard fought one goal win over a Clemson team that they also topped 1-0 when they faced each other in Durham during regular season play back on October 4.

The teams went into the halftime break scoreless. It appeared at that point like the contest would be decided by a single goal and it was. Senior forward Karlie Paschall fulfilled that prophesy during the 51st minute of play when she pushed down the right side to find the space and the angle needed to send a rocket just inside the near post after receiving a pass from freshman back Emily Royson.

Clemson pressed the attack from that point seeking to secure the equalizer but a stout Blue Devil defense kept the Tigers at bay. Clemson played with ten for the final five minutes of the contest when sophomore back Harper White was awarded a red card.

Duke head coach Robbie Church stated, “I’m so proud of the whole group, the collective toughness, and how we compete every time out.”

Duke had an eight to seven advantage in shots and both Duke netminder Ruthie Jones and Clemson goalkeeper Hensley Hancuff had a three save game. The shutout was Duke’s sixth of the season. 

The effort was there on both sides of the ball for both teams. This one could have gone either way but it came down to the fact that Duke was able to create and finish an opportunity and Clemson was not.

Duke improves to 7-3-2 and advances to face Florida State in the semifinals at 5:30 on Friday, November 13. Clemson concludes the fall season with a 6-4-0 record.  

Duke vs Florida State - 5:30 p.m. Friday, November 13. – The Blue Devils held their own when they faced the Seminoles in Tallahassee during regular season play. Jaelin Howell’s goal with only 14 ticks remaining in regulation gave the Noles a 1-0 win.

This one is going to come down to whether or not a determined Duke defense led by defenders Emily Royson, Mia Gyau, Delaney Graham, Taylor Mitchell and Caitlin Cosme and goalkeeper Ruthie Jones can contain an aggressive but very patient and disciplined FSU offense. 

Whoever gets on the board first will have the opportunity to set the pace in this one. Breakdowns on the defensive side of the ball will be costly. If Florida State can break the code on the Duke defense early then this will likely be a multi goal win for the Noles. FSU will not likely take their foot off the gas on either side of the ball having learned their lesson in that regard after squandering a two-goal lead and leaving Charlottesville with a narrow 4-3 win over Virginia during regular season play.

On the other hand, this is a Duke team with a lot of grit that will enter the game believing they can win it. The Blue Devils will need to put together two complete halves of play in order to have a chance to win. The longer Duke is able to contain FSU the greater their chances of pulling off an upset.

North Carolina 1 – Virginia Tech 0 – This was another gut check type contest. Credit the Hokies with a game plan, approach and bend but don’t break defense that gave them the best opportunity to prevail and kept the contest close. Nonetheless this one was all North Carolina.

The Tar Heels displayed the energy and focus that they needed to preclude any type of lapse in play that the Hokies could exploit. 

The score and style of this contest was the same as it was when the Tar Heels topped Virginia Tech 1-0 back on September 20 in Chapel Hill.  In that match UNC had a 19 to 3 advantage in shots and a ten to one advantage in shots on goal. Brianna Pinto scored the game-winner for the Tar Heels in the first meeting.

In the most recent contest, North Carolina had a 17 to 3 advantage in shots and Virginia Tech had a two to one advantage in shots on goal.  UNC also had a 15 to one advantage in corner kicks.

The good news for the Tar Heels was that their one shot on goal gave them the edge that they needed to secure the win. Junior midfieler Brianna Pinto once again contributed the game-winner with a header in the 26th minute of play with a double assist from Emily Fox and Sam Meza. The goal was Pinto’s fifth so far this year. 

North Carolina improves to 10-0-0 during which time they have found the back of the net 21 times while only allowing three goals. The Tar Heels advance to the semifinals where they will tangle with Virginia on Friday, November 13 at 8 p.m.

Virginia Tech concludes the fall season with a 5-8-0 record.

Virginia 4 – Louisville 1 – The Cavaliers scored twice in each half with sophomore forward Diana Ordonez leading the way with a hat trick. Her first goal came in the 20th minute from point blank range out of a counter with a helper from Alex Spaanstra. Ordonez was at the right place at the right time again in the 24th minute when she made it 2-0 after controlling a deflection in the box.

Louisville pulled one back in the 43rd minute when Emina Ekic placed a shot into the top left shelf of the net out of a free kick to close the gap to 2-1 heading into intermission.  

Ordonez scored for the third time in the 57th minute when she ran onto a long ball played over the top of the defense and placed it into the right post to make it 3-1 Virginia. Spaanstra added the final goal of the evening for the Cavaliers in the 71st minute with a nice helper from freshman defender Samar Guidry.

Virginia improves to 8-2-1 and advances to face North Carolina on Friday night. Louisville concludes the year with a 4-5-0 record.  

Virginia vs. North Carolina – 8 p.m. Friday, November 13 - Both of these teams have the ability to score in multiples if they get into a rhythm.

North Carolina is a very balanced, deep and consistent team. The Tar Heels have the advantage based on their effectiveness and organization on the defensive side of the ball.  A tenacious North Carolina defense anchored by goalkeeper Claudia Dickey and back Maycee Bell has only allowed a total of three goals in ten games to date. Virginia has allowed fifteen in eleven games so far. 

Forwards Diana Ordonez (7g, 4a) and Rebecca Jarrett (3g, 3a) lead the Cavalier attack. Brianna Pinto (5g, 2a) and Rachel Jones (4g, 3a) are UNC’s top goal scorers.  Look for the Tar Heels to apply pressure from the get-go and seek to dictate the pace of the match.

This one could be interesting particularly if Virginia is able to play through the pressure and get on the board first. A case could be made that the only team that can beat North Carolina this year is North Carolina. If the Tar Heels play to their potential and don't look past Virginia chances are pretty good that they will prevail.    

Pictures:  Duke and North Carolina Athletics