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Clemson men’s club soccer finish up tournament at University of Tennessee

Clemson Club Soccer // Courtesy
The Clemson club soccer team traveled to Knoxville, Tennessee, to compete in a tournament at the University of Tennessee.

While a national championship trophy may come to mind when thinking of Clemson’s men’s soccer, the varsity squad is not the only one representing the Tigers in the quest for hardware. The men’s club soccer team has had a season to remember, recently capped off with a trip to Knoxville, Tennessee, for its final tournament of the semester.

The tournament kicked off the Volunteer Invitational against Purdue on Friday, April 5, resulting in a 1-0 loss. The team bounced back the following day with a 5-2 victory over Florida State, then concluded the weekend with a 2-0 defeat to Tennessee.

Isaac Ritter, a sophomore forward on the team, offered his insights into the team’s dynamics.

This past weekend, we traveled to Knoxville to play in the club soccer tournament hosted by the University of Tennessee. It did not go quite as planned; we came with a team that could have won it all, but we didn’t perform as well as we should have on Friday night,” he said in an interview with The Tiger.

While this is technically the team’s offseason, Ritter was still amazed by the grit his teammates played with after taking time off.

“One thing I was really impressed with from our team is during Friday night we encountered some rust from not playing for a while,” he said. “We were able to discuss this rust after the game and before the game on Saturday and address some of those issues which we took care of in the game on Saturday.”

Saturday saw a dramatic change of tides as Ritter’s teammate Ricky Sanchez recorded a hat trick to avenge the blank sheet from the night before.

Sunday saw unforeseen adversity for the team, as on the final day of the tournament, their bus would not start. They did not arrive at the field until right before their match with the Vols, missing warm-ups and potential strategy talk.

On top of these struggles, the team also received a red card and had to finish the game against Tennessee with just 10 players.

Though unpredictable surprises may have affected their play, Ritter and the team take full responsibility for their losses.

“We were not going into tackles hard enough,” he said. “We were letting Purdue be first to the ball, and I think that has something to do with a lack of preparedness before.”

The team was more cohesive on Saturday following a full night’s rest.

“We kept our midfield connected, which was something we struggled to do on Friday night. The defense and the offense were on their own and isolated during the game Friday, so we changed our formation for Saturday. Our midfield was much more dynamic and was able to transfer plays from the defense to the offense more effectively,” Ritter said.

Though the tournament did not go the way Ritter and his team would have liked, they are still going strong and always looking forward to what’s next.

Though we are never satisfied with anything less than a win, we were able to bond as a team and share unforgettable moments,” he said. “Shoutout to our president, Ryan Cawley. He has done a very good job this season at leading the team and also moving us forward in the right direction and inspiring our guys. Also shoutout to our seniors who took part in the tournament as their last games.”

If you are interested in joining the squad, check out their Instagram @clemsonmensclubsoccer or their TigerQuest page.

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Sarah Pepe
Sarah Pepe, Senior Reporter
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