The NC State women’s soccer team advanced to the ACC Championship semifinals with a 2-1 overtime win over Louisville on Sunday night.
The Wolfpack’s (10-5-4, 4-2-4 ACC) opponents for the semifinals will be the ACC regular-season champion and 1-seed UNC Chapel Hill Tar Heels (17-1-1, 9-0-1 ACC), who beat 8-seed Notre Dame 3-0 in the quarterfinals.
When these two teams met earlier in the season, the Tar Heels came away with a 1-0 win on their home field. Even though it is on a neutral site this time, the game will essentially be a home game for the Pack as the match will take place at WakeMed Soccer Park, just a short drive from campus.
The Tar Heels are entering the tournament on a stellar run of form, going undefeated in ACC play with only one small blemish: a 0-0 draw on the road in Durham. The Heels’ only loss of the season came in the final game of nonconference play where they fell 2-0 to now No. 5 ranked Arkansas.
While the Tar Heels’ score offense has had a good, if not great, year, averaging 2.58 goals per game, it’s the defense that has shone the brightest, averaging just 0.37 goals per game this season.
The leading attacker for the Heels is Brianna Pinto who leads the team with 24 points (10 goals, four assists). Behind her is Bridgette Andrzejewski on 15 points (five goals, five assists), Lotte Wubben-Moy also on 15 points (five goals, five assists) and Ru Mucherera on 14 points (four goals, six assists).
The Pack has been in a similar position this season with the defense outshining the offense. The Pack scores a respectable but not great 1.63 goals per game, but concedes just 0.89 goals per game.
The offense for the Pack this season has largely been carried by senior midfielder Tziarra King who has grabbed 32 points (13 goals, six assists) this season, 20 points more than the next highest point total. Behind King in point totals are senior midfielder Ricci Walkling with 12 points (two goals, eight assists) and freshman forward Jameese Joseph with nine points (three goals, three assists).
Similar to the regular season match between these two, expect the semifinal to be a low-scoring, hard-fought affair with likely just a single goal separating the rivals.
The match will kick off at 5 p.m. at WakeMed Soccer Park on Friday, Nov. 8 and can be viewed on the ACC Network. The winner of the match will advance to the ACC Championship Final to be held at noon on Sunday, Nov. 10, also at WakeMed Soccer Park.