U.C.L.A. 5 - Clemson 0
This, unfortunately, was an inevitability for the offensively inept Tigers. At some point, your defense is going to give up a goal, or even 2, against a good team, and things fall apart.
Things fell apart for the Tigers in Los Angeles.
The Bruins opened the scoring in the 5th minute, and blitzed the beleaguered Tiger defense the rest of the half. A 3 goal Bruin scoring binge starting in the 31st minute and ending in the 41st put the game away. Honestly though, this game was done in the 5th minute because Clemson wasn’t going to score.
The team played better in the second half, but couldn’t find a goal. U.C.L.A. managed to sneak another shot past Sandy MacIver in the 75th minute to add additional insult to injury. Sandy deserved better than this ending.
I’ll have a season wrap-up next but needless to say, this season can only be considered a disappointment.
Clemson 2 - Charlotte 1
Soccer is a strange and frustrating game. Sometimes a single player can turn the the tide in a game that otherwise would be a walkover. That almost happened to the Tigers against Charlotte. The 49ers goalkeeper, Elliot Panicco, was a man possessed, single-handedly thwarting the Tiger attack at every turn. Panicoo, recorded 6 saves to Clemson goalkeeper George Marks’s 1 in the first half. The game entered the half 0-0.
Sometimes the only way to counteract a goal keeper playing on a different plane of existence is to use your own transcendent player. In the 56th minute, Robbie Robinson decided he was tired of the foolishness, juked the entire 49ers defense, and punished the back of the net. Panicco couldn’t save the shot because he didn’t see it until he was picking the ball out of the net.
Panicco, however, wasn’t snapped back to reality by the goal and held the score at 1-0. Disaster struck the Tigers in the 73rd when a long throw by Charlotte found it’s way into the 6 yard box and was poked home for a goal against the run of play. Sometimes it be like that. You dominate a game, but don’t put it away and the opposition manages to sneak in a fluke goal.
Luckily for Clemson, Grayson Barber wasn’t interested in a long overtime period and ended the game with a “golden” goal 3 minutes and 11 seconds into overtime with a screamer into the bottom right corner off a deflection, finally slaying the Panicco beast. It is rumored, however, that if you go out to Riggs fields on a moonless night and take a shot towards goal, the spirit of Panicco will turn the ball away.
This is one of those games you have to survive in a single elimination tournament, and Clemson did just that.