The mid-November chill has finally arrived in Clemson, South Carolina, and with it comes postseason soccer. No. 8 seed Clemson Men’s Soccer begins its NCAA Tournament journey tonight at Historic Riggs Field. After sitting out Thursday’s first round action with a bye, the Tigers will take on the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, but before we get into that, here’s Clemson’s corner of the bracket:
Clemson’s road to the College Cup will be a challenging one. If the Tigers defeat the Chanticleers, they’ll probably face 9 seed Stanford in the next round. Clemson has struggled with the Cardinal in the past, so I expect that match to be a battle. A win against Stanford would probably mean another trip to Winston-Salem, where the Tigers would meet the Wake Forest Demon Deacons for the third time this season. Clemson has been cursed on that particular field; the first match resulted in an extra time loss, and the second match — the semifinal of the ACC Tournament — ended 2-1 in favor of the Demon Deacons after a bad red card and a moment of insanity from goalkeeper Ximo Miralles. In those two matches, Clemson and Wake Forest traded blows like heavyweight prizefighters. I’d expect no less excitement from the last episode in the trilogy.
Even for the neutral fan, this part of the bracket will be a particularly juicy affair. Wake Forest is the best team in the country on talent and form, but Clemson and Stanford aren’t far behind. VCU is a strong 16 seed. Pacific and Columbia are underrated, solid programs. Coastal Carolina and Butler are somewhat mysterious prospects; both teams have good results on their resume, but their inconsistent play will probably plague them in the tournament. Buckle up and enjoy.
First Round Results
Here is the updated tournament bracket. Note the amount of ACC teams with first round byes.
The first round results weren’t too surprising outside of Massachusetts’ 2-0 loss to Colgate.
The U-Mass Minutemen swept through the Atlantic 10, and seemed to be dark horse candidates for a deep run. Then the red hot Colgate Raiders stormed into Amherst and laid waste the ground on which those expectations had been built. This is what the Raiders do. They ride into your peaceful town and, regardless of the quaint, charming warning systems you have devised, they set fire to your home, your grain, your weapons, and your cute little bell tower. After leaving Amherst with the few material resources that survived the inferno, the Raiders travel to Ann Arbor, where they will attempt to forcibly remove the pelts of the Michigan Wolverines.
Preview: Coastal Carolina at Clemson
Location: Historic Riggs Field
Date: Sunday, Nov. 19
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Prediction: 2-0 (W)
The Coastal Carolina Chanticleers present a tough, but winnable matchup. Clemson met this team once before, in an August exhibition match. The Tigers won 3-1. Head Coach Mike Noonan ran a 3-4-3 formation in that particular match, and he’d be smart to do so again.While they’ve taken down a few notable teams this season, Coastal only scraped by a mediocre Mercer squad in the first round. The boys from Conway have been inconsistent all year. Clemson will exploit that inconsistency. Expect a bounce-back performance from Ximo Miralles after his unfortunate mistakes in the ACC Tournament semifinal. Clemson’s midfield, meanwhile, is more talented than that of their counterparts. Oliver Shannon will control the center of the pitch in this one. The Tigers should emerge victorious.
A little heavy-handed, but I’m not the one with 10,000 followers.
The gunslinger Diego Campos is taking his final bow in this tournament. Appreciate him while you can.