The Student News Site of Clemson University

The Tiger

The Tiger

The Tiger

Clemson United surges to College Cup final for 2nd time in 3 years

Toby Corriston
Clemson’s Shawn Smart (20) scored the only goal in the Tigers’ College Cup match against West Virginia at Lynn Family Stadium in Louisville on Dec. 8.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Clemson Tigers defeated the West Virginia Mountaineers by a score of 1-0 at Lynn Family Stadium in the College Cup semifinals.

A goal from defender Shawn Smart in addition to a stingy defensive performance was enough for Clemson to pull away and advance to its second championship game in three years.

The Tigers withstood the Mountaineers’ heavy onslaught, with six corner kicks and nine shots resulting in no scores for West Virginia. The Clemson defense continued its streak of shutting out all opponents in the tournament, also marking its 1oth clean sheet of the season.

“It wasn’t easy at the beginning of the season,” said goalkeeper Joseph Andema, who had two vital stops in the contest. “I give credit to my teammates, I give credit to all of the center backs (and) all of the people in front of me who are putting in the work.”

Despite chances for both teams, head coach Mike Noonan’s squad gained the upper hand as the first and last to score. The goal came from Smart, the second of his career, when a Mountaineer clearance found the feet of the sophomore off the head of forward Mohamed Seye. Smart fired the shot past goalkeeper Jackson Lee into the top right corner to open the scoring with under 10 minutes left in the first half.

The Mountaineers created more chances out of the locker room, using quick sequences and dangerous through-balls in an attempt to get past the Clemson defense. Their closest chance came in the 58th minute when forward Yutaro Tsukada sent a ball over the top to find teammate Marcus Caldeira open in the box, but his shot went long over the crossbar to keep Clemson in front.

The game was far from clean, as after Clemson’s goal, the referee used his whistle for 21 fouls across the 90 minutes – 14 of which belonged to the Tigers.

“Defending is not just the goalkeeper and the defenders,” Noonan said after the game. “I think what we have done really well over the course of the tournament is we have defended from the front all the way to the back.”

Noonan hopes to hoist the championship trophy after the final on Monday night, citing the 2021 team as a motivating factor for his current squad’s success.

“I’m very proud of this team,” Noonan said. “We talk about being remembered or being remembered forever. We have an opportunity on Monday night to be remembered forever, like the ‘21 team.”

The Tigers will play either the Oregon State Beavers or the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the championship game on Monday, Dec. 11, with the final game of the season set to begin at 6 p.m. at Lynn Family Stadium.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Tiger

Your donation will support the student journalists of Clemson University . Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributors
Griffin Barfield
Griffin Barfield, Asst. Sports Editor
Toby Corriston, Asst. Photo Editor
Donate to The Tiger

Comments (0)

All The Tiger Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *