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Sylla leads Tigers past No. 13 Indiana in season opener

Aralynn Minnick, Asst. Photo Editor
Clemson men’s soccer midfielder Ousmane Sylla (No. 10) dribbles the ball in the Tigers’ 2022 season opener against Indiana at Historic Riggs Field on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022.

Clemson men’s soccer opened its 2022 season with a victory on Friday night, defeating No. 13 Indiana at Historic Riggs Field.

In the 3-2 win, it was Clemson midfielder Ousmane Sylla who was the difference-maker in Friday’s match. At the 80-minute mark, Sylla rocketed a right-footer towards the upper right corner of the goal, getting past Indiana goalkeeper JT Harms.  

The game-winning goal was Sylla’s second of the night, having already scored 12 minutes into the match on an assist by senior forward Mohamed Seye and Enrique Montana.   

After the game, Sylla attributed the late-game score to head coach Mike Noonan.  

“Before I came in the second half, coach just told me to shoot the ball, and that’s what I did,” Sylla said. “My last thought was that I needed to shoot the ball. I got the angle, and I put it in.”  

Seye was the Tigers’ other scorer of the night, as he scored Clemson’s second goal of the night at the 16-minute mark.   

Friday’s season opener also served as the celebration for the Tigers’ 2021 national championship, with over 6,000 fans in attendance.   

“(The crowd) was fantastic,” Noonan said. “Not only were they fantastic in number, they were educated, they were loud and they influenced the game.”   

Even with the energy from the crowd, the Tigers fell behind shortly after kickoff when Clemson goalie Trevor Manion mishandled a pass from the Clemson defense, allowing Indiana forward Samuel Sarver to steal the ball from Manion and fire in the game’s first goal.  

After this early-game mistake, Manion played a nearly flawless final 85 minutes.  

Replacing George Marks from last year’s national championship team, Manion impressed Noonan with his resilience after giving up the early goal.   

“Trevor was sensational,” Noonan said. “He pulled off some amazing saves, but the mental toughness, to be able to deal with that in front of that big of a crowd at home in his first real start, and everybody in the crowd was going ‘where’s George,’ but they found out who Trevor was tonight.”  

The Tigers will return to Historic Riggs Field on Monday, Aug. 29, to face the USC Upstate Spartans at 7 p.m.   

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