Scoring is likely to be at a premium Sunday afternoon when the Charlotte 49ers host Virginia Tech in the second round of the NCAA men’s soccer tournament.
The match is set for 4 p.m. at Transamerica Field.
The 49ers are among the nation’s top defensive teams, and the teams feature standout goalkeepers. What’s more, Charlotte and Virginia Tech played to a 0-0 tie when they met Oct. 23 in Blacksburg, Va.
Charlotte ranks fourth nationally in defense, allowing 0.51 goals a contest. Goalkeeper Elliot Panicco, who played at Hough High, was Freshman of the Year in Conference USA and had shutouts in 10 of his 17 games.
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Teammate Luke Waechter was Conference USA Defender of the Year.
But Virginia Tech keeper Ben Lundgaard has eight shutouts and a 0.82 goals-against average this season.
While the 49ers have been strong defensively, they also are among the nation’s leaders in scorers, averaging 2.06 goals a contest. Brandt Bronico, who leads the team with eight goals and five assists, was conference player of the year.
The Charlotte-Virginia Tech winner will face the Indiana-Akron victor in next week’s third round.
In other Sunday NCAA tournament games involving Carolinas teams:
COASTAL CAROLINA (10-6-3) at WAKE FOREST (15-2-3)
Spry Stadium, Winston-Salem, 1 p.m.
Wake Forest is coming off last Sunday’s win against Clemson for the ACC tournament title and is the tournament’s No. 2 seed. The Deacons had a first-round bye. Coastal Carolina, which beat Radford 2-1 in the first round, has eight shutouts this season from goalkeeper Braulio Linares-Ortiz.
SOUTH CAROLINA (11-7-1) at CLEMSON (12-3-5)
Riggs Field, Clemson, S.C., 6 p.m.
Sophomore goalkeeper Ximo Miralles has 10 shutouts this season for Clemson, the most at the school in 18 years. The Tigers, seeded third, had a first-round bye. South Carolina topped Mercer 1-0 in the opening round. Clemson won 2-1 in the season opener between the schools.
FLORIDA GULF COAST (15-3-2) at NORTH CAROLINA (11-3-3)
Fetzer Field, Chapel Hill, 7 p.m.
This is a game of contrasts. Florida Gulf Coast leads NCAA Division I men’s soccer in scoring (60 goals), and North Carolina is No. 1 in defense (eight goals). North Carolina had a first-round bye, and Florida Gulf Coast advanced by beating South Florida on penalty kicks. The teams are meeting for the first time.