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Clemson knocked out of College Cup as Tigers fall to UCLA in heartbreaking fashion

Aralynn Minnick // Asst. Photo Editor

Clemson midfielder Ousmane Sylla dribbles the ball against UCLA at Historic Riggs Field in the second round of the 2022 College Cup on Nov. 20, 2022. 

The sixth-seeded Clemson men’s soccer team suffered a close loss to UCLA in the 2022 College Cup on Sunday, sending the Tigers out of the tournament by a score of 2-1.
In a back-and-forth, intense second-round match at Historic Riggs Field, the Tigers’ 35th NCAA Tournament appearance was cut short early, as a late goal by the Bruins (12-6-1) was too late for them to answer back in time.
Clemson had the first key chance in the 19th minute, with forward Mohamed Seye intercepting a pass to a UCLA defender and leading a breakaway, before it was saved by UCLA goalkeeper Nate Crockford.
But Mike Noonan’s squad drew first blood four minutes later, giving the Tigers (13-7-1) an early lead. After a long ball was settled by Seye, the senior was fouled in the box for a penalty.
The penalty was converted by defender Hamady Diop, who scored the opening goal in the 23rd minute, his second of the season.
Nine minutes later, the Bruins responded. Defender Grayson Doody centered a ball to forward Andre Ochoa, who placed a right-footed shot outside the box and past freshman goalkeeper Joseph Andema, leveling the score.
As the second half began, the intensity and physicality of the game progressed as each minute passed, with the crowd at Historic Riggs Field making its presence known as well.
Both teams also had their chances. In the 55th minute, UCLA midfielder Tucker Lepley fired a shot that Andema was able to stop.
On the other side of the field, Clemson forward Isaiah Reid had a chance for the Tigers, unloading a hard shot that was stopped by Crockford.
Corners were the main opportunity, however, with eight corner kicks happening in the second half, four by each team.
However, with 11 minutes to go, a deflected corner by Clemson fell to Lepley, who fired it past Andema for the go-ahead goal for the Bruins.
Clemson had its chances after the goal, with multiple corners in the final minutes of the game, but the Tigers were unable to equalize the score as time expired.
Noonan called this year’s squad “a special, special group of young men,” with the 2022 season coming to a close for the Tigers.

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Griffin Barfield
Griffin Barfield, Asst. Sports Editor
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