Wake Forest, which played 67 minutes down a man, topped Virginia 4-3 in penalty kicks after a 0-0 draw to claim the 2017 ACC Men’s Soccer Championship on Sunday afternoon at MUSC Health Stadium.
The Demon Deacons (17-1-2) were led by Championship Most Valuable Player Andreu Cases Mundet, who made two saves in the game and one in penalty kicks to post his league-leading 10th shutout of the season.
The title is the second straight for top-seeded Wake Forest and the third overall. The Demon Deacons also won their first ACC Championship in 1989 in penalty kicks.
“This win today is for the fans, it’s for every Wake Forest team that has played in the past,” said Wake Forest head coach Bobby Muuss. “It had been 27 years [without a title] prior to last year’s championship, and now two in a row. This is for all the alumni who have done so much for me and so much for these young men and paved the way.”
Wake Forest defender Logan Gdula was sent off after picking up a yellow card in the fifth minute and then a second in the 43rd minute, giving Virginia the man advantage for the remainder of the game. It marked the first red card in an ACC title game since 2010, when North Carolina’s Michael Farfan received one.
“Everything was positive in the beginning and we were managing the game,” said Cases Mundet. “With the red card everything was different. I think the team was very intelligent and we kept playing.”
The two teams traded chances in the first 45 minutes with Wake Forest holding a 6-4 edge in shots, but Virginia tallied the only shot on goal in the period just before halftime.
In the 68th minute, Wake Forest’s Ema Twumasi and Luis Argudo fired shots on target in quick succession but were stopped by Virginia’s Jeff Caldwell.
After going down a man just before halftime, the Demon Deacons outshot the Cavaliers 8-3.
“I told the guys at halftime when we got down a man, obviously it’s disappointing, but we play down a man every day in training,” said Musss. “Every day our first team plays down a man. We are prepared for these situations.”
Caldwell made three saves and stopped two penalty kicks for his sixth shutout of the season.
By virtue of the penalty kick victory, Wake Forest claims the league’s automatic qualifying bid to the NCAA Championship. Virginia (12-3-5), which played in its 10th overtime game of the year, will await the NCAA Championship selection show Monday at 1 p.m.
The game marked the fourth time in history that the title game of the ACC Men’s Soccer Championship has gone to penalty kicks and first since 2005.