The NC State men’s soccer team finished the ACC regular season in third place in the ACC Atlantic and earned itself the fifth seed in the ACC Championship. The Pack’s opponents for the first round will be the 12th-seeded Duke Blue Devils, who finished bottom of the ACC Coastal.
The match will kick off at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Dail Soccer Field, a start time that will favor the visitors, as the usual rowdy atmosphere of Dail Soccer Field will likely be subdued due to students having class.
The Wolfpack and the Blue Devils met just one time during the regular season, and the match ended as a 0-0 draw, but the Pack was the better of the two sides on the day.
Neither team is entering the tournament in good form, with the Pack coming off back-to-back losses to Syracuse and Clemson. Duke enters in even worse form, with the Blue Devils winning just one game in their last seven.
The Blue Devils and the Pack have both struggled to get their offenses going this season, with the Pack averaging just 1.12 goals per game and the Blue Devils just narrowly scoring more at 1.65 goals per game.
While the offenses have not been great for either of these two sides, the defenses have been rather strong, with the Pack and Blue Devils conceding just 1.12 and 1.41 goals per game, respectively.
When the Blue Devils do score, it is more often than not by Daniele Proch, who has grabbed 11 goals and five assists this season.
For the Pack, the scoring is more spread out, as leading scorer sophomore forward Kuda Muskwe has grabbed four this season but another five players have scored at least twice.
With the game likely to come down to just a goal or two, it will be up to players like Duke’s Proch or NC State junior midfielder David Loera to create some magic and get their side the win.
The winner of the match will go on to face the four seed in the tournament, Pittsburgh, on Nov. 10.