Last week, the Clemson men’s soccer team fell just short of an ACC championship after falling 3-1 to the Virginia Cavaliers in the ACC Championship game. After the loss, the Tigers set their sights on the NCAA tournament. After being granted the No. 2 overall seed in the tournament, the Tigers were given a first-round bye. On Sunday evening, the Tigers knocked off the Charlotte 49ers by a score of 2-1 to advance to the third-round of the NCAA tournament.
Coming off just their second loss of the season, the Tigers were forced to rebound quickly in the single-elimination NCAA tournament. Facing Charlotte, the No. 15 team in the country, the Tigers had no room for error in their first tournament matchup.
Charlotte gave the Tigers a fight on Sunday night, forcing the game into overtime with the score deadlocked at 1-1. Though the Tigers had outshot the 49ers 18-5 in regular time, Charlotte goalkeeper Elliot Panicco’s 10 saves kept the 49ers in the match. Three minutes into the extra time period, the ball fell to Clemson midfielder Grayson Barber at the top of the box. Barber struck the ball first-time toward the bottom corner of the net, just outside of Panicco’s reach.
Earlier in the match, Clemson forward Robbie Robinson notched his team-leading 16th goal of the season. The 49ers were able to respond later in the second half on a tap-in goal after a long throw-in trickled through the Clemson box. With the score knotted at 1-1, the match went to overtime.
In NCAA soccer, unlike most professional leagues, a “golden goal” rule is applied. This means that if a team scores in one of the two ten-minute overtime periods, the game is over. The Tigers left little time to waste as Barber slotted home the winning goal just three minutes into the extra period.
The Tigers’ next match will come against the Providence Friars on Sunday, Dec. 1. The Friars will come into the match with a record of 16-6. The Friars have played their best soccer in recent weeks, winning eight of their last nine matches including a 3-2 overtime win over No. 13 Penn State in their most recent match.