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Clemson shuts out Gamecocks in rivalry win

Toby Corriston // Contributor
Clemson midfielder Ousmane Sylla (10) dribbles the ball against South Carolina at Historic Riggs Field on Sept. 1, 2023.

The Clemson men’s soccer team defeated the South Carolina Gamecocks 2-0 in a physical battle at Riggs Field on Friday night. 

The age-old Palmetto State rivalry delivered on expectations as the game kicked off fast and loud due to early South Carolina pressure. The Clemson defense stepped up, leading to a blocked shot from sophomore midfielder Nathan Richmond six minutes into the game. 

Within the first 15 minutes of the half, Clemson’s offense dominated possession and prevented South Carolina from creating scoring opportunities. 

Tensions ran high as multiple yellows were drawn on both parties, with South Carolina’s Ethan Daks being called for unsportsmanlike conduct after a ball careened out of bounds, followed by a penalty on Clemson’s Gael Gibert for tripping.

The Tigers (1-1-1) channeled their frustration into an explosive play when Clemson forward Joran Gerbet scored a bottom-left corner goal off a pass from Richmond 24 minutes into the first half. 

Clemson wrapped up the first half of the match leading 1-0. However, the Tigers were not perfect; Clemson also led the first half with eight fouls and four offside calls.

The second half saw South Carolina presented with multiple early corner kicks, but the Gamecocks couldn’t capitalize on scoring opportunities. 

South Carolina midfielder Rocky Perez sent a shot toward the net in the 64th minute, which was plucked away by Clemson goalie Joseph Andema, registering his first and only save on the day.

As the game progressed, the physicality grew. Duquenne was pushed down with a defender in South Carolina’s box and was slow to get up, but thankfully escaped the altercation uninjured. Additionally, defender Adam Lundegard was shaken up after yet another physical play in the 68th minute.

As Clemson looked to wrap up the match with another score, forward Mohamed Seye sent a corner kick into the box, which was headed by Lundegard and touched by an opposing defender before senior forward Alex Meinhard scored the game-sealing goal for the Tigers.

With their victory over South Carolina, the Tigers set a program record of 10 straight wins over the Gamecocks, shutting them out for the fourth year in a row. With their first win of the season in the books, the Tigers’ focus now shifts toward securing a winning streak.

When asked about the Tigers’ possession and ball control, Meinhard, who scored his first goal as a Tiger tonight after transferring from Tulsa, acknowledged their overall success but firmly stated the need for improvement:

“It was pretty good overall. There were definitely times where we were a little bit sloppy, but we can get better, and that’s what we are going to go do tomorrow; go look at film and try to be better,” he said.

The Tigers will next play Presbyterian College on Historic Riggs Field at 7:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday night.

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