On Friday Clemson was able to take down Wake Forest 3-1 on a night when the 1984 NCAA championship team was honored. Contrary to what the scoreboard says this was actually a very close game. Wake Forest snagged the first goal a mere 8 minutes into the game but Clemson tied it up in the 27th minute. Manolo Sanchez whipped in a good, low cross across the box that found Thales Moreno unmarked at the back post. Clemson's second goal was scored by center back Kyle Fisher off of a Paul Clowes free kick. The Tiger's third goal came off a quick counter attack after a period of sustained pressure from Wake Forest. Iman Mafi had his shot blocked but TJ Casner got to the 50/50 rebound first to knock it home from inside the box.
This game was a clear case of the ref losing control. It was obvious that as the game went on neither team respected his decisions and the ref resorted to giving out some silly yellow cards. Some of his foul calls were also questionable. The players started getting into it with one another and I'm a little surprised that no one received a yellow.
At times, especially in the first half, Clemson struggled to retain possession. There were stupid give aways and lack of creativity in the attacking third, whether it was bad passes or bad runs. The Tigers improved with this as the game wore on and there were moments of brilliant play, particularly in the second half. The two Costa Rican freshmen, Saul Chinchilla and Diego Campos, showed their talent but also their youth. They both can improve defensively (particularly Campos and his work rate) but their offensive individual skill is some of the best on the team. Clemson's team defense was solid once again. Wake Forest threatened to score but there was almost always a Tiger waiting to clear it up. I have no idea what is going on with Amadou Dia. He's only played in 5 games this year and Joseph Amon has taken over his starting fullback spot. Oliver Shannon did not play but that is most likely a coaching decision to keep him fresh throughout the year. Paul Clowes was dynamite from the other holding midfield spot.
The Tigers have a huge game on Friday when they head up to Chapel Hill to take on the Tar Heels.
The Women's program split their games this week. Even after the loss to Virginia Tech, Clemson was still ranked, coming into Thursday's game with #8 UNC at #17. North Carolina is one of the nation's premier soccer programs, both men's and women's, and a win over the Tar Heels would have been season defining. Unfortunately, Clemson lost 2-1 in a game that was even throughout. The Tigers gave up a goal only four minutes into the game. That is incredibly frustrating and a case of the team not being mentally focused to start out. Clemson battled back to tie the game in the second half but North Carolina sealed the win with a goal in the 77th minute.
The Lady Tigers rebounded with a 1-0 win on Sunday over Boston College. With the win, Clemson improved to 8-2-1 (1-2) on the season. It will be interesting to see how the Women's team fares through conference play. I think their record may be a little bit inflated due to a weak non-conference schedule but we'll see
Clemson heads up to Winston-Salem to take on Wake Forest this Saturday.
The Tigers lost in Charlotesville to UVA in 4 sets, 23-25, 19-25, 25-19, 22-25. Clemson had a very good chance to win the 4th set but the Cavs went on a 9-1 run that effectively sealed the deal. Like the other Olympic Sports, the volleyball is hitting the road once again this weekend, this time to take on Miami in Coral Gables.