Through 44 games of the 2019 DI men’s soccer championship, three more matches stand between the crowning of a winner. The four remaining teams — Georgetown, Stanford, Wake Forest and Virginia — prepare for battle with the common goal of a national championship in mind.
Here’s how each team reached the 2019 College Cup as well as 19 pertinent points to remember over the next few days:
1. This is the fourth time in five years that four seeded teams reached the College Cup. The outlier was 2018 when unseeded Michigan State and Akron broke through.
2. No pace of play changes are necessary at WakeMed Soccer Park. All four teams play on natural grass, the same surface as the field at Sahlen’s Stadium. Virginia, Georgetown, Wake Forest and Stanford owned a combined home record of 47-4-6, all played on natural grass.
3. The College Cup doubles as a homecoming for three players. Georgetown’s Daniel Wu is from Cary while Stanford’s Tanner Beason (Winston-Salem) and Wake Forest’s Andrew Pannenberg (Charlotte) grew up nearby.
Virginia’s path to Cary
Second round: 2-0 win vs. Campbell
Third round: 3-0 win vs. No. 16 St. John’s
Quarterfinals: 3-2 win (OT) vs. No. 8 SMU
4. Virginia was awarded the top seed after maneuvering through a 10-bid ACC with one loss. The Cavs are the first No. 1 seed to reach the College Cup since North Carolina won the national championship in 2011.
5. The Hoos are the top team in college soccer when it comes to keeping opponents out of their net. They’ve allowed nine goals this year. Colin Shutler’s 15 shutouts have plenty to do with that.
6. Cary isn’t Charlottesville, but it feels like home. Virginia’s previous two College Cup titles (2009, 2014) were clinched at WakeMed Soccer Park. Virginia has kept a clean sheet in both of their past two College Cup trips.
7. Wake Forest head coach Bobby Muuss is 12-4 in the NCAA tournament. The Cavaliers are the only team to beat him in the College Cup, setting up a rematch of the 2009 national semifinal.
Georgetown’s path to Cary
Second round: 5-0 vs. Pitt
Third round: 5-1 vs. Louisville
Quarterfinals: 2-1 vs. No. 6 Washington
8. Georgetown’s ascension to soccer prominence is relatively recent. Because of that, the Hoyas are the only program at the 2019 College Cup seeking their first soccer championship.
9. Versatility is a valuable asset and the Hoyas’ resourcefulness stems from their ability to play multiple styles. Georgetown is the only DI team to finish top-5 in goals scored (53) and goals allowed (11).
10. The Hoyas’ offense has proven to be a multifaceted attack and the numbers reflect that. Seven players have 10 or more points on the season. You never know whose day it’s going to be.
11. Head coach Brian Wiese has also utilized a two-goalkeeper system, the only team at the College Cup to do so. Through 22 games, the rotation has remained the same between Giannis Nikopolidis and Tomas Romero with 11 starts apiece.
Wake Forest’s path to Cary
Second round: 3-0 vs. Maryland
Third round: 3-1 vs. No. 13 Michigan
Quarterfinals: 1-0 vs. UC Santa Barbara
12. Like Virginia, the Demon Deacons have had past success in Cary. Wake Forest won the program’s first championship there in 2007. The ACC has won the past four College Cups at WakeMed Soccer Park.
13. Need a big goal? Look no further than Bruno Lapa. The senior has six game-winners in 2019, the most of any individual at the College Cup.
14. Be mindful of Wake’s counter and spacing. No team remaining has drawn more yellow cards than the Demon Deacons’ staggering count of 71.
15. With just over 100 miles separating Spry Stadium from Sahlen’s Stadium, the Demon Deacons are the closest team to Cary geographically.
Stanford’s path to Cary
Second round: 1-1 (2-1 PK) vs. Seattle
Third round: 2-1 vs. No. 10 Virginia Tech
Quarterfinals: 1-1 (5-4 PK) vs. No. 2 Clemson
16. Senior Tanner Beason has had a decorated Cardinal tenure with three College Cup titles. The captain could potentially cap his career with the program’s fourth title in five seasons.
17. Speaking of Stanford’s championships, the Cardinal three-peat from 2015 to 2017 is just the second occurrence of three straight titles since 1959.
18. The Cardinal won two of their three postseason matches on penalty kicks. Goalkeeper Andrew Thomas has come up huge in both, stopping six of 11 attempts in total.
19. Cary might be ACC country, but Jeremy Gunn has an 8-0-3 record against the conference in the NCAA tournament. That mark could possibly improve if the Cardinal reach the College Cup final.