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.
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.