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Clemson Soccer: Men’s Team Claim Division Championship!

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The men’s team take the ACC regular season. The women’s team falls in the ACC tournament quarterfinals.

Boston College v Clemson Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images

Women’s Team - 11-6-1 - #22

Clemson 2 - Boston College 1

Clemson 1 - FSU 2

Boston College

This was another all too typical Clemson game. The Tigers were the better squad (B.C. has only 1 ACC win) but couldn’t find the goal and were forced to grind out a win against a team they should blow off the field. Granted, it was raining in Chestnut Hill, but it was raining on both teams.

Clemson came out flat in the first half, and couldn’t generate much in terms off offense. Boston College was thrilled to take the game to the half 0-0. The second half opened poorly for the Tigrs. B.C.’s Olivia Vaughn finished a cross at the back post in the 52nd minute to give the Eagles the 1-0 lead.

B.C. scoring may have been the best thing for the Tigers, as it snapped them out of their funk. Mackenzie Smith finished off a rebound in the 59th minute to draw even and then Hal Hershfelt put the Tigers ahead in the 72nd minute off a Kimber Haley assist to grab the lead for good.

This game shouldn’t have been as close as it was. I would like to blame the weather, but this has been par for the course this year. Most of the Clemson attack came out of the defense and midfield. Out of 15 total shots, Julie Mackin was the only forward to offer up an attempt at goal. That’s a tough way to win games, even with a solid defense.

FSU

This was always going to be a tough match up for the Tigers. The 2nd seeded Seminoles are a tough squad. To make matters worse, the offensively inept Tigers were without forwards Courtney Jones, Mariana Speckmaier, and are still without the services of Maliah Morris. We’ve reached the worst case Clemson attack scenario.

Clemson needed a fast start, and it didn’t materialize, as the home standing Seminoles jumped out early after scoring directly off a corner kick. The normally rock-solid Sandy MacIver gave up a rec leaguesque howler, misjudging an in-swinging kick and allowing it to go over her head and directly into the back of the net in the 18th minute.

Clemson righted the ship, and held while never threatening the Noles, keeping the deficit at 1-0 going into the the halftime break. The second half breathed new life into the Tigers. Lauren Bruns notched her first collegiate goal in the 64th minute off another Rennee Guion assist. Almost everything good that happens for the Clemson offense originates from a Guion cross. She’s easily the offensive M.V.P. for the Tigers, and she plays wing back....that’s not good.

The Tigers, however, couldn’t hold the lead, giving up a wide open header to Seminole Jaelin Howell in the 78th minute. Clemson failed to muster a response in the final 12 minutes, ending their ACC tournament in the quarterfinals (there first game of the tournament).

What’s Next

Clemson is a lock for the NCAA tournament. They’ll find out their tournament fate on November 11th.

Men’s Team - 14-1-1 - #2 - Atlantic Division Champions

Clemson 3 - NC State 0

NC State

Clemson secured the Atlantic Division Championship in Raleigh in true 2019 Clemson fashion. Robbie Robinson dominated the game, Grayson Barber put the ball in the net, Kimarni Smith terrorized the defense with speed, and they even managed to find a set piece goal off a header from Malick Mbaye.

Clemson thrives on fast starts, and put the pedal down early against the Wolf Pack, hitting them on the counter in the 11th minute. Kimarni Smith found a wide open Grayson Barber, who had time to adjust his socks, fix his hair, and brush his teeth before calmly slotting the ball past the defenseless keeper, this ended up being the game winning goal.

The Tigers love to score goals in bunches, and in the 12th minute they struck again. Felipe Fernandez rocketed a shot off the post and Robbie Robinson, ever the opportunist in the box, pounced on the rebound and drove it into the back of the net to extend the Clemson lead.

Things settled down after the early Clemson barrage, and the Tigers took a 2-0 lead into the half.

Clemson didn’t waste any time putting another goal on the scoreboard to reestablish their dominance in the second half. Malick Mbaye found space in the box on a corner kick and sentenced a header into the back of the net off a delectable Kimarni Smith cross. 2-0 leads are always tenuous, because if the opposition can pull one back, things get interesting. Getting a 3rd goal in the 50th minute shut the door on that Wolf Pack hope and the Tigers cruised to victory.

Next Game

ACC Quarterfinals - Sunday, November, 10th - Historic Riggs Field - Opponent TBD - 7 PM

Hermann Award

Robbie Robinson is the odds on favorite to bring home the Hermann award this year (the college soccer Heisman). He leads the nation in points per game (combination of goals and assists) with 2.6. He’s 3rd in total goals with 15 and tied for 4th (with a ton of other players) with 9 assists.

His main competition is UCLA’s Milan Iloski, the leader in total goals. Robinson, however, leaves Iloski in the dust when you consider their overall games. Iloski is a scorer only, with only 2 assists to compliment his 17 goals. Robbie has 15 goals and 9 assists. The choice, in my eyes, is clear.

If the voters get it right, Robinson will join fellow Tigers Bruce Murray (1987) and Wojtek Krakowiak (1998) as winners of the prestigious award.