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Clemson men’s soccer wins ACC home opener

The Clemson Tigers men’s soccer team defeated the Boston College Eagles by a score of 1-0 in their last game at Historic Riggs Field. 

The Tigers were able to get their first ACC win of the season, a feat that they were unable to accomplish against NC State earlier in the week. The win will likely provide a big momentum boost for the Tigers after a rough stretch of games.

The past two weeks for the Tigers have consisted of a lot of traveling, grueling matches and bizarre circumstances that have certainly taken a toll on

the team. 

The Tigers began their first road trip of the season with a 2-1 overtime battle with Georgia Southern on Sept. 4. On Sept. 8, the Tigers suffered their first loss of the 2017 season against ACC rival NC State that dropped them to No. 10 in the nation. Finally, when the Tigers returned home hoping to get back to their winning ways against North Florida, the game was cancelled due to the effects of Hurricane Irma. 

After the rough stretch, the Tigers needed to get in a rhythm, and on Friday night they succeeded. 

The match against Boston College was a physical and defensive battle from start to finish. The referee called thirty-one fouls and awarded two yellow cards for each team. Chances were hard to come by for both sides, and it felt from early on that one goal could decide the outcome of the match. 

Clemson was especially dominant on the defensive side, as they only allowed one shot on goal throughout the course of the match. 

The Clemson center backs were impressive once again on Friday night as they frustrated Eagle defenders and kept keeper Ximo Miralles from having to work very hard. 

The defensive pair consisted of Malick Mbaye and Andrew Burnikel, who started for the second time this season on Friday night in place of Patrick Bunk-Andersen. The two defenders played nearly the entire match, combining for 172 minutes of play.

Offensively, the Tigers were not at full strength as forward Diego Campos watched the match from the sidelines. The junior forward has been one of the Tigers’ most electric and creative players in the attacking third thus far this season, and his absence was noticeable on Friday night. 

While the Tiger offense wasn’t as potent without Campos in the lineup, they still did well enough against the Eagles. One of the most dangerous players on the field once again was senior forward Jason Wright. While Wright did not get on the scoresheet, he led the team with five shots. 

Wright nearly pulled off yet another wonder-goal in the 43rd minute when he curled a free-kick from the far right edge of the box that whizzed just over the bar. The referee blew the whistle to signal the end of the first half with the score deadlocked at 0-0.

The lone goal of the match came in the 54th minute after Saul Chinchilla intercepted an errant pass from an Eagle midfielder. Chinchilla laid the ball off to Olivier Shannon who immediately fed the ball through the defense to fellow captain Tanner Dieterich. 

Dieterich, who was in alone with the keeper, calmly slid the ball into the lower left corner of the net to give the Tigers the lead. The goal was the first of the season for Dieterich, and it could not have come at a better time. 

After the goal, the Eagles began to send more and more players up the field to try to even the score, but the Tiger defense held strong. 

One of the biggest storylines of the night was the Tigers’ success without two of their top contributors. Campos and Bunk-Anderson, players who had started every match for the Tigers thus far, were both held out of the lineup. 

In their absence, Head Coach Mike Noonan turned to experienced players like Chinchilla and Wright to absorb more minutes than usual, and they stepped up to the challenge. 

The victory proved that the Tigers can still have success when they are forced to turn to their bench — an asset that will likely prove to be vital as the season progresses. 

The Tigers will look to carry the momentum from Friday night into Tuesday when they take on the UCLA Bruins. Clemson will resume ACC play next Friday night in a 7 p.m. game against the Pittsburgh Panthers at home. 


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