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Clemson shuts out Charlotte to move onto Sweet 16

Toby Corriston
Clemson midfielder Brandon Parrish celebrates after scoring the first goal in their win over Charlotte in the NCAA Tournament on Nov. 19.

The Clemson Tigers (11-3-5) defeated the Charlotte 49ers (13-4-1) 3-0 in a spirited defensive affair on Sunday night at Historic Riggs Field to move on to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.

Clemson was the first to hit the scoreboard when forward Brandon Parrish sent a shot off the left post and into the net off an assist from Remi Okunlola late in the first half. The Tigers rode the adrenaline from their first goal through halftime, and within three minutes back on the pitch, star midfielder Ousmane Sylla extended the lead to 2-0, assisted by Alex Meinhard.

The Tigers held firm throughout the rest of the second half, shutting down scoring opportunities and staying consistent with possession. Charlotte’s offense began to fire up and force shots off of counterattacks and crucial Clemson mistakes, including a near miss by midfielder Logan Frost in the late stages of the game.

The 49ers’ fate was sealed, however, when defender Arthur Duquenne, who has played a massive role in Clemson’s playoff run, scored his second goal of the season with three minutes left off an assist by Sylla and Meinhard.

Ball control was made difficult for Charlotte thanks to aggressive Clemson defenders, putting an end to multiple close situations. The Tigers’ passing on offense and a three-save performance from goalkeeper Joseph Andema resulted in the end of Charlotte’s playoff run.

The defense was the dominant factor that kept the game clean of Charlotte scoring. Every scoring situation was cut off on the pass, shut down in stride, or saved by Andema. Defenders Pape Mar Boye, Adam Lundegard and Gael Gibert, along with the rest of the defensive front, made an incredible impact on the game, leading to the eventual shutout, making it their seventh of the year.

“It was the focus this week, for sure,” head coach Mike Noonan said of his defense. “We have a KPI board in our locker room, and there’s this one that is ‘clean sheet.’ We hadn’t had a clean sheet in a few games, so I said, ‘Which one of you guys is gonna put the magnet on the clean sheet after we beat Charlotte?’”

The Tigers head to New Hampshire to face the No. 8-seeded Wildcats in the third round of the NCAA Tournament this upcoming weekend.

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Toby Corriston, Asst. Photo Editor
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