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Virginia to finish play in Raleigh

Healthy squad looks to emerge from three-way tie in standings as No. 4 seed in upcoming ACC Tournament

Since Sept. 3, the Virginia men's soccer team has played 16 matches, all to determine what seed it would earn in the ACC and NCAA tournaments. The Cavaliers will continue that mission this Saturday, when they visit N.C. State for their last chance to improve where they stand.

"This being an ACC game on the road and meaning something in the standings - there's a lot to play for," coach George Gelnovatch said.

Virginia is currently tied with Duke and Clemson for fourth place in the ACC, and Boston College barely trails the pack with seven points. Each team vying for the No. 4 seed will play an ACC match this weekend. Any tie in points would be broken by goal differential.

"This weekend is going to be [full of] crazy ACC soccer action," senior goalkeeper Diego Restrepo said.

N.C. State, meanwhile, has no hope of climbing the standings. After a thoroughly lackluster ACC campaign, the Wolfpack (8-7-2, 0-5-2) have secured last place and will compete in the play-in match against Virginia Tech.

Despite its in-conference struggles, N.C. State has amassed a winning record overall. Senior defender Tyler Lassiter and senior midfielder Chris Zuerner have led the campaign with six goals each.

At the other end of the pitch, sophomore forward Will Bates and junior forward Brian Ownby have been wreaking havoc in opponents' halves throughout the season, leading the Cavaliers with eight and seven goals, respectively. After sustaining an injury against James Madison Oct. 12, Bates returned to the field for 76 minutes during Virginia's 0-2 loss against Maryland Oct. 29. During the following game against Campbell, however, Bates scored two goals. The Virginia attack's success has imbued the team with ever-increasing confidence, senior defender T.J. Cyrus said.

"It's definitely a growing belief, and now that we're up to 10 wins, that's huge for us," Cyrus said. "I think going into the [ACC] Tournament, we're going to be really confident."

The match kicks off at 7 p.m. Saturday. The Cavaliers will begin ACC Tournament play next Wednesday regardless of their seeding.


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