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Clemson Soccer: NCAA Tournament Time

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The Clemson Women advance in a shoot out, while the men snag the overall #2 seed.

NCAA Football: Boston College at Clemson Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson Women

Clemson 0 - Vandy 0 - Clemson advances on PK’s 5-4

The Women’s team is nothing, if not consistent and predictable. In my first round preview I said I liked Clemson’s chances in a 1-0 game.

Clemson won the game 0-0 (they advanced on PKs...not sure how they officially score that).

In an interesting tactical move, Coach Radwanski all but declared his intention to win this thing with a shut out by shifting from the 4-3-3 formation he favored throughout much of the year to a more defensive minded 4-4-2. No reason to play 3 forwards if none of them are putting the ball in the net. Moving to a more conservative formation takes stress off the defense and still allows for the against the run of play counter.

Clemson, as keeping with tradition, out shot the Commodores 13-11, but couldn’t put anything in the back of the net. This isn’t anything new. Someone asked me why they take so many shots and can’t score, and honestly, it is like that sometimes. Finishing is a skill. Some people are good at figuring out a way to put the ball in the net, others, even though they are excellent players, can’t figure it out. Clemson has an entire roster of excellent, non-finishing players. It would be nice if one of the Clemson players could figure it out, but at this point, it’s best to try to win every game in PK’s.

Clemson plays UCLA on Friday. No need for an in depth preview. Clemson has to hold UCLA to a maximum 1 goal, but will probably need another shut out to move on. That’s going to be a tough ask against UCLA on the road. The good news is the Bruins don’t feature any particularly dynamic players up top, with freshman Mia Fishel leading the way with 9 total goals. UCLA averages 2 goals per game on the season. Clemson has the ability to shut them out, but a goal would make things significantly easier.

I have a feeling the Tigers are going to have to win this one the hard way.

Next Match

Friday, November 22nd - Clemson vs UCLA - Los Angeles, California - 11 PM EST

Clemson Men’s Team

Clemson 1 - UVA 3

Things fell apart for the Tigers in the last 10 minutes of the ACC Championship game. The Tigers entered the 80th minute tied with UVA, but gave up a goal in the 82nd minute on a corner, and a minute later, committed a foul in the box, giving UVA the decisive 3rd goal on a PK.

No reason to dwell on that result, because much like basketball, the ACC Tournament, for a team like Clemson, is meaningless. It would have been cool to win, but losing to UVA doesn’t hurt the cause. Clemson played the most of the tournament without Robbie Robinson. He logged 54 minutes against UVA, but wasn’t his effervescent self due to a “muscle injury” that kept him out of the prior 2 games. It’s encouraging that he was able to make it back on the field against UVA, but Clemson needs a full strength Robinson to knock off the Cavs. Losing stinks, but this loss doesn’t mean much.

As long as Robinson is back to 100% by the time the quarter finals roll around, Clemson (in my opinion) is the favorite to win it all. They’ve got the #2 overall seed, and what should be a tough, but manageable draw to the Final 4.

Preview

Another easy preview. Clemson will be the prohibitive favorite against either opponent. As long as the regular season Tigers (with a healthy Robinson) show up, this should be a 3+ goal victory. Even without Robinson, I like the Tigers by at least 3.

Next Match

Sunday, November 24th - Historic Riggs Field - Clemson vs Charlotte/Mercer - 6 PM EST

*Note: I edited this post because I provided some bogus information about Robinson not playing in the original post. That’s what I get for watching the first two games of the ACC tournament but skipping the final.