Todd Wharton (So., Glen Allen, Va.) scored on a penalty kick in overtime to lift the No. 10 Virginia men’s soccer team to a 1-0 win over No. 9 Wake Forest Tuesday evening in the quarterfinals of the 2013 ACC Championship at Spry Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C. Virginia (10-4-4) is the No. 6 seed in the tournament, while the Demon Deacons (9-5-5) are the No. 3 seed.
Virginia advances to take on No. 1-ranked Notre Dame, the tournament’s No. 2 seed, Friday at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Germantown, Md. The teams will play at either 5:30 or 8 p.m., with ESPN3 broadcasting the contest. Notre Dame defeated seventh-seeded Duke, 1-0, Tuesday in South Bend, Ind. Top-seeded Maryland and fourth-seeded Clemson will square off in the other game.
UVa eliminated Wake Forest from the ACC tournament for the sixth straight season; the Cavaliers are now 17-0-4 all-time against the Demon Deacons in the ACC tournament.
“We knew we had to come in here and defend,” Virginia head coach George Gelnovatch said. “Wake is a team that traditionally comes out of the blocks pretty quick. They try to push you back and they pass well. We were comfortable in the first half and we knew the goal was to not give up any goals like we did the last time. The second half we started to come into it a little more and by the overtime, I don’t think Wake got out of their half in the four minutes of overtime. We were pushed up, we were aggressive, we felt good and we wore them down a little bit.”
On a frigid night with temperatures in the mid-30s and wind chills dipping into the low-20s, Virginia scored 3:44 into the overtime period. The chance was created after Marcus Salandy-Defour (So., Kensington, Md.) slipped a beautiful ball past the Wake Forest defense to find a streaking Jordan Allen (Fr., Rochester, N.Y.) down the left flank. As Allen crossed into the box, he was fouled and taken down by a Wake Forest defender, and UVa was awarded a penalty kick.
Wharton calmly stepped to the spot and beat goalkeeper Andrew Harris for his third goal of the year. It marked the Cavaliers’ lone shot on goal in the contest. Wake Forest held a 12-8 edge in shots, although UVa took the only two shots in the overtime period. The Demon Deacons took seven corner kicks to five for the Cavaliers. Both teams were called for 13 fouls.
Virginia goalkeeper Calle Brown (R-Jr., Leesburg, Va.) made three saves – all in the first half – as he recorded his second straight clean sheet. The Cavaliers claimed their ninth shutout in 18 games while also playing in their eighth overtime match of the year.
The match was a stark contrast to recent matches between these sides. In the previous five matches dating to 2011, the teams combined for 28 goals. Wake Forest topped the Cavaliers, 3-2, on Sept. 13 in Winston-Salem.
“We’ve learned a lot over the course of the season and in particular since the last time we played Wake Forest,” Gelnovatch said. “It starts with a mentality and being mentally tough, and the physical part will follow. From the start, we knew they’re a good passing team, they’re a hard-pressing team, they’re at home and they’re going to come at us quick, so we just need to make sure we don’t break. We bent a few times and got into halftime at 0-0 and then slowly got ourselves into the game.”
Wake pressured hard from the start and created a quality scoring chance in the sixth minute, but Tolani Ibikunle’s header from short range was tipped over the crossbar by Brown. In the 27th minute, Ross Tomaselli’s one-timer clanged off corner of the upper 90.
Following a corner kick in the 72nd minute, Wake Forest got three shots off in the box in a frantic scramble, including one which was knocked off the line by UVa defender Kyler Sullivan (Jr., Stafford, Va.). The other shots also were blocked in the scrum by the UVa defense.
Virginia now will have a rematch with Notre Dame in the semifinals. UVa handed the Fighting Irish their lone loss of the season on Oct. 26 in a 2-0 contest in South Bend, Ind.
“We have a lot of respect for Notre Dame,” Gelnovatch said. “When we went there a few weeks ago, I thought it was a very good game and we played well. Obviously Notre Dame will be very motivated given that we beat them at their place, so I expect another very good game.”