The Virginia Men’s Soccer team are your 2019 ACC Champions as the Hoos took down No. 1 Clemson, 3-1, on Sunday afternoon. This is Virginia’s 16th ACC title in school history, and the fifth under head coach George Gelnovatch (1997, 2003, 2004, and 2009).
This much-anticipated match between No. 1 Clemson and the No. 2 Cavaliers (both their seeds in the ACC tournament and their national ranks) lived up to the hype in an exciting affair. With Virginia’s win over No. 1 Maryland early in the season, this was the second time the Hoos defeated the top-ranked team in the country.
After falling behind 1-0 in the 20th minute, the Cavaliers used a huge second half to come from behind against the most potent offense in the country. Clemson’s James Brighton opened the scoring with a rebound off of a corner kick. Despite averaging over 3.5 goals per game, that would be the only score of the game for the Tigers.
Axel Gunnarsson picked a good time to get the first goal of his career as the first year took on several Tigers in the corner before finishing with a low burner. The score tied the game at one with 25 minutes left to play in the second half.
Virginia took the lead for good just 17 minutes later as Cabrel Happi Kamseu connected perfectly off of a corner kick for the 2-1 advantage. The Cavaliers had eight corners in the game (same as the Tigers), converting just one of them (but an important one).
HOOS IN FRONT!!! Cabrel Happi Kamseu puts the Hoos in front, 2-1 in the 82nd minute!!! pic.twitter.com/broFeXo5Si— Virginia Men's Soccer (@UVAMenSoccer) November 17, 2019
Less than a minute and a half later, the Cavaliers would effectively put the game away as Robin Afamefuma converted a penalty kick for the 3-1 advantage. Darryl Dike drew the foul in the box after the Clemson defender dragged him down in an obvious goal-scoring opportunity. Clemson’s Malick Mbaye was given a red card on the play and will miss the Tigers’ first NCAA tournament game.
Colin Shutler, who was named to the All-ACC First Team earlier this week, was stellar against Clemson’s outstanding attack. The Tigers had 13 shots, with five on goal. Shutler finished with four saves in the win and got a nice assist from the crossbar late in the game that kept Clemson two goals behind.
Virginia won the ACC tournament without the help of the ACC Midfielder of the Year Joe Bell as the senior was called up to play with the New Zealand National Team. Happi Kamseu got the start in his stead this weekend, and second year made the most of the opportunity. The Cavaliers will likely be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament — if not the top overall seed — but until then, it’s time to celebrate.