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Clemson Soccer: On to the Semi Finals!

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The Clemson men continue to dominate, the women learn their NCAA fate.

NCAA SOCCER: DEC 12 Men’s College Cup - Press Conference Photo by Andy Mead/YCJ/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Women’s Team - 11-6-1 - #25

The Clemson women were a lock for the NCAA tournament, the only question remaining was seeding and venue.

Things worked out well for the Tigers.

They will face Vanderbilt at home, and then, if the seeding holds, travel to Southern California to face U.C.L.A.

I like this draw for 3 reasons.

  1. Clemson is a solid home team.
  2. Vandy, much like Clemson, has a hard time scoring.
  3. Traveling to the U.C.L.A. isn’t ideal, but at least Clemson gets to play in warm weather.

It’s a simple game plan for the Tigers. Stop star Vandy forward Haley Hopkins and figure out a way to push a goal across the line. If these two teams play up to their normal standard, this game ends 2-1 or 1-0.

I like Vandy in a 2-1 game and I like Clemson in a 1-0 game. If Clemson can keep Hopkins at bay, Vandy doesn’t have much else in terms of scoring options. The tough part is that Clemson doesn’t have a go to player up top. It’s going to be a group effort to try and score. If a goal does come for the Tigers, expect it on a set piece or cross from Renee Guion. Clemson is at its best when it can draw fouls and corners and get the big girls from the back into the box for headers and deflections. It’s not the prettiest way to play, but it’s all they’ve got.

Next game

Friday, November 15 - Historic Riggs Field - #25 Clemson vs # Vanderbilt - 5PM

Men’s Team - 15-1-1 - #1

ACC Tournament

Quarterfinals

Clemson 3 - Notre Dame 0

First off, not to bury the lead, but the Tigers have ascended to #1 in the college soccer polls. It doesn’t mean much, because they’ve got a single elimination ACC Tournament and a single elimination NCAA tournament ahead of them, but it’s pretty neat. If they win the ACC Tournament, they will finish the season #1, and draw the #1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

In the ACC quarterfinals, the men destroyed Notre Dame without the services of soon to be All-American and Herman Award winner Robbie Robinson after he was a surprise late scratch with a minor injury.

Even without the prodigious talents of Robinson, the Tiger attack was smothering. The first half had the feeling of a game that was about to get out of hand. The Tigers controlled play, ripping shots early and often, but couldn’t find the back of the net. Senior Clemson keeper George Marks was called upon late in the 1st half on a Notre Dame break away against the run of play and the Clemson net minder came up with a huge save to keep the Tigers level going into half.

The dam finally broke in the 2nd half.

Phillip Mayaka opened the scoring in the 53rd minute with a clinical finish from inside the box. The Tigers kept the pressure on the Fighting Irish, and in the 74th minute, a Notre Dame defender reached out his arm to deny Clemson a goal, earning himself a straight red and putting Malick Mbaye at the penalty spot. Like a true Clemson man, Mbaye stepped up with composure and calmly buried the shot, and Notre Dame’s chances. James Brighton finished the game off in the 84th minute after collecting a sublime pass from Grayson Barber inside the box, snatching a Notre Dame defenders soul, and then slotting the ball past the vanquished Fighting Irish keeper.

Clemson out shot Notre Dame 32-5. If Robinson plays in this game, you’ve got to assume the score is closer to 5 or 6 nothing, but I’ll take a 3-0 victory any day of the week.

Next Game

Wednesday, November 13th, Historic Riggs Field - #1 Clemson vs Pittsburgh - 6 PM