Clemson, S.C. – Clemson, ranked 15th in the nation, got a goal in each half and took a 2-0 victory over USC Upstate Tuesday night in non-conference men's soccer action at Riggs Field.
Upstate (0-5-1) ended the non-conference portion of its schedule against Clemson and will take more than a week off before opening it's a-Sun schedule at Mercer on Oct. 4 in Macon, Ga. Clemson improved to 7-1-0 on the year with the win.
"We knew coming in that Clemson was a very good team," Said Upstate head coach Greg Hooks. "Their ranking is a little unfair to them. They were ranked in the top five in the country before losing one game to a Maryland team that is perennially one of the best teams in the nation. I thought we battled throughout the game and defended well. I told our guys that if we can put in that type of effort in the A-Sun, we are going to be okay."
Upstate avoided falling behind early in the match on a standout defensive effort by Derek Dearmond. Clemson played a ball in the box and goalkeeper Hassan El-Haddad came off his line. However, Tiger forward Austin Burnikel's shot toward an empty goal was blocked by Dearmond and the Spartans were able to clear the ball just 42 seconds into the match.
After the initial pressure put on by Clemson, Upstate settled in and played evenly over the next 22 minutes of the half. The Tigers, though, cracked the scoreboard in the 22nd minute. They took three shots in a span of 55 seconds, all of which were blocked by Upstate defenders. Following the third shot, Clemson was granted a corner kick and Thomas McNamara played a cross toward the left corner of the six-yard box where Kyle Fisher put the header away from seven yards to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead.
Despite falling behind midway through the half, Upstate battled the rest of the half and went in the intermission down 1-0. Clemson owned a 9-1 lead in shots on goal with Marvin Schmiege taking Upstate's shot. The Tigers, though, only put one shot on goal in the half.
Clemson added a goal in the 49th minute to open a 2-0 lead early in the second half. Clemson gained possession deep in Upstate territory on the right side. Manolo Sanchez played a ball forward to Jack Metcalf who played a cross from just outside the box across the goal mouth where Ara Amirkhanian put the diving header away.
Upstate withstood Clemson's attack the remainder of the game as the Tigers took the 2-0 win. Clemson held a 15-2 lead in shots, 6-2 in the second half. However, the Tigers placed just three shots on goal in the match. Julian Feneberg took a shot in the second half for the Spartans. Upstate played without leading scorer Dave Musambi who sat out the game with a strained hip.