Clemson, Syracuse Punch Tickets to College Cup

Clemson wins on Friday, Syracuse wins on Saturday; Boston College and Wake Forest see seasons end.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. ( – Kansas City here we come! 

No. 6 Syracuse’s magical season continues next weekend at the College Cup after defeating Boston College, 1-0, on Saturday, Dec. 5 at the SU Soccer Stadium in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament. Junior Ben Polk (Banbury, UK) scored on a header off a corner kick in the 79th minute as the Orange advances to the national semifinals for the first time in program history.

“We’re delighted to be able to play a little bit more soccer,” said Syracuse head coach Ian McIntyre. “There’s only one more week left in the season and to still be playing is something special.”

Syracuse (16-5-3) dominated possession and was the more dangerous team throughout the match. The Orange earned five corner kicks in a span of 90 seconds in the second half, but couldn’t convert. Finally, on its 14th corner kick of the match, Syracuse broke through. Redshirt junior Liam Callahan (Amherst, N.Y.) served the ball into the box where he found Polk on the back post. Polk headed the ball into the left corner of the net for the only goal of the match.

“We work on set pieces all of the time,” Polk said. “We know our roles. Credit to Liam. It was great service into the box.”

“We had I don’t know how many corners in the first and second half so it was only a matter of time before we scored on one,” Callahan said. “I didn’t expect anyone to get to that ball on the back post, but credit to Ben for scoring on it because that box was pretty hectic.”

Following the goal, Boston College (11-8-2) sent numbers forward and had a couple of scoring opportunities. Mohammed Moro’s shot in the 87th minute went wide and goalkeeper Hendrik Hilpert (Eiterfeld, Germany) made a save in the 88th minute on the Eagles’ final scoring chance to send the Orange to the College Cup, soccer’s version of the Final Four.

Syracuse did not allow a shot in the first half as it held a 7-0 advantage in that category at halftime. The Orange came out strong in the second half and never let up the pressure on the Eagles. Syracuse finished with a 16-6 advantage in shots and had 14 corner kicks to six for Boston College.

“We didn’t get an early goal in the second half but you could the momentum. If you can keep clean sheets like we did today, there are goals in this team. Thankfully today we had one more than they did.”

The Syracuse defense shined once again for the Orange. Syracuse’s back line of junior Louis Cross (Lancashire, England) and freshmen Kamal Miller (Pickering, Ontario) and Miles Robinson (Arlington, Mass.) along with Hilpert posted the Orange’s fourth shutout in the last seven matches, which includes the ACC and NCAA Tournaments.

“Down the stretch, if you can keep clean sheets, you can win matches. And if you’re winning matches this time of year, special things happen. The defense has been battle-tested this year to play against the quality and caliber of teams (that we’ve played). I thought today, to limit their opportunities, our defense was magnificent. It starts with Ben and Noah Rhynhart (Albany, N.Y.) up front. They work so hard. For our midfield three, the wingbacks, across the whole field – when we’re at our best, we’re a tough team to play against. I’m delighted that we can still play another game next week.”

The Orange will now face ACC foe Clemson for the third time this season next Friday, Dec. 11 at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas. The teams split the previous two meetings, with each team winning on the other’s home field. Match time will be announced early next week.

Clemson Advances to NCAA College Cup with PK Win Over Maryland Friday

CLEMSON, S.C. – Junior midfielder Thales Moreno scored a goal in regulation as well as the winning penalty kick, and redshirt junior goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell came up with two incredible saves on PKs, to send the No. 2 National Seed Clemson men’s soccer team to the NCAA College Cup on Friday night at Historic Riggs Field. The Tigers (17-2-3) tied No. 10 Maryland 1-1, and advanced 3-1 in penalty kicks, to reach the College Cup for the first time in 10 years, and just the eighth time in program history.

“First of all, give a lot of credit to Maryland, they played exceptionally well, but so did we,” said the Tigers’ sixth-year head coach Mike Noonan, who will be making his first trip to the College Cup as a head coach after reaching the Elite Eight three times in his career. “We came out with a renewed sense of purpose in the second half. We stepped up the defense and that created the offense.

“The crowd was amazing and kept us in it, and down the stretch we got even stronger. The credit goes to the players for the work they have put in all year, and also to the hard work and dedication of our strength and conditioning staff.”

The Terrapins had the upper hand offensively in the first half, with an 8-1 advantage in shots and a 5-0 edge in corner kicks. The stalwart Clemson defense, led by senior Kyle Fisher and freshman Patrick Bunk-Andersen, was able to keep Maryland off the scoreboard, with the assistance of three saves by redshirt junior keeper Andrew Tarbell. There were 13 fouls called on the Tigers in the first half, and four whistled against Maryland.

Clemson made adjustments at halftime, and recorded a shot and its first two corner kicks of the game in the first five minutes of the second half. At the 57:32 mark, Moreno gave the Tigers a 1-0 advantage with his fifth goal of the year. The play began with a throw-in by junior defender Aaron Jones, followed by a series of crisp passes, with sophomore midfielder Oliver Shannon and sophomore forward Diego Campos sending the final two passes into the box for Moreno to finish.

Alex Crognale tied the game at 1-1 on a header in the 73rd minute, which was scored off of a corner kick by Jorge Calix. For the second half, Clemson led 9-8 in shots, which included a couple of good chances, and 8-4 in corners, but the game remained tied at the end of regulation, sending the Tigers to overtime for just the third time this season.

The two teams played two, scoreless, 10-minute overtime periods, with Clemson having a 6-2 advantage in shots and Maryland leading the way in corner kicks, 3-0, before the game ultimately ended in a draw and went to penalty kicks.

Junior defender Iman Mafi handled the first PK for the Tigers, which was a make. He is now four-for-four on penalty kicks on the season. The Terrapins made their first PK, which was followed by a Clemson miss. Tarbell saved the next two Maryland PKs, with a Tiger miss in between. Senior forward T.J. Casner stepped up to the line next, and was successful on his attempt, before the next Terrapin player’s shot went over the top of the goal. Moreno was up next, and, with the pressure of the College Cup hanging in the balance, drilled his shot into the top of the net.

“I wasn’t nervous,” noted Moreno. “I’ve been practicing PKs in training the past few weeks and I felt confident.”

Tarbell, who, in addition to the two saves in the penalty kick round, also posted five saves in regulation, was successful in the first penalty kick shootout of his collegiate career.

“It’s just instincts,” he said. “We practice PKs, but that doesn’t simulate the game atmosphere. It’s about instincts and confidence, and also about the belief in your teammates that they are going to score.”

When asked about advancing to the College Cup, Tarbell, one of the team’s three co-captains, noted, “It’s a pretty surreal feeling right now, but we still have two more to go. It’s fun to celebrate now for a few minutes, but we haven’t done anything yet.”

Clemson now heads to the College Cup, in Kansas City, Kansas, with the semifinal games to be played on Friday, Dec. 11 at Sporting Park, the home of the Sporting KC of the MLS. The Tigers face the winner of the contest between two ACC foes, Syracuse and Boston College, which will be played on Saturday, Dec. 4 at 2 p.m.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The Boston College men's soccer team saw its 2015 season come to an end in the NCAA Elite Eight after sixth-seeded Syracuse defeated the Eagles, 1-0, at SU Soccer Stadium on Saturday.

After a scoreless first half, the Orange converted on a corner kick in the 79th minute for the go-ahead goal and held on to punch their tickets to the program's first-ever College Cup.

Senior goaltender Alex Kapp made nine saves in the loss, but the Orange out-shot 16-6 in the game and collected 16 corner kicks to BC's 6.

The Eagles wrapped up the season with an 11-8-2 record after finishing third in the Atlantic Division of the ACC. BC advanced to its second-ever Elite Eight after wins over Vermont, No. 16 South Florida and No. 1 Georgetown.

Score: Syracuse 1, Boston College 0
Records: Boston College (11-8-2), Syracuse (16-5-3)
Location: SU Soccer Stadium, Syracuse, N.Y.
Attendance: 1,923

After out-shooting BC 7-0 in the first half and the Eagles holding it scoreless, the Orange capitalized on their 13th corner kick in the second half for the go-ahead goal through Ben Polk.

21' – SU's Louis Cross got on the end of the corner kick service, but his flicked-down header is just wide of the Eagles' goal.
67' & 68' – Syracuse collects five straight corners as Alex Kapp three different times clears the ball out of danger while Atobra Ampedu cleared off the line, and BC keeps the Orange off the board amid heavy pressure.
79' – On their 13th corner of the game, Ben Polk rose above the Eagles' backline and headed in Liam Callahan's service on the back post for the 1-0 lead

Wake Forest's Run Ends in Elite Eight

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Top-seeded Wake Forest men's soccer dropped a heartbreaker in overtime on Saturday night against eighth-seeded Stanford, falling 2-1 in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Championship at Spry Stadium.

The Demon Deacons finish the 2015 campaign with a record of 17-3-2, posting the most wins in a season since the 2009 campaign. Stanford moves on to its fourth College Cup in program history and first since 2002 with a 17-2-2 record on the season. The Cardinal will take on Akron in the Final Four on Friday night in Kansas City.

After Stanford forward Jordan Morris scored in the 18th minute, Wake Forest responded with the game-tying goal in the 70th minute on a penalty kick by Ian Harkes. The attempt was setup after Hayden Partain was taken down on the left side of the box by Ty Thompson. Harkes stepped up and buried his PK just inside the left post toward Walt Chyzowych Alumni Hill to knot the game at 1-1. The goal was Harkes' first of the season.

Foster Langsdorf tallied the game-winning goal in the 97th minute for the Cardinal on a header he flicked in from the middle of the penalty area that slipped under the crossbar. The tally is his seventh of the season. The chance was set up by Corey Baird, who sent a free kick toward goal after the Demon Deacons were whistled for a foul 35 yards out.

Wake Forest and Stanford were evenly matched in the first half, but the Demon Deacons took over in the second half as they scored the equalizer and were pushing hard for the game-winner. Overall, Wake Forest outshot Stanford 14-12, but the Cardinal had an 8-6 advantage in shots on goal.

Stanford nearly won the match in the 94th minute when it was awarded a penalty kick. Brandon Vincent stepped up to take the kick and sent it off the crossbar and high to keep the game 1-1. In scoring twice in the contest, the Cardinal is the only the third team to score more than once against Wake Forest in 2015. Florida International tallied two goals in the Deacs' 3-2 win on Aug. 30 and Louisville scored twice in Wake Forest's ACC regular season title-clinching 4-2 win in Kentucky.

Game Notes
-In 15 games against teams in the NCAA RPI Top 30, Wake Forest went 11-3-1 on the season, including a 4-1-1 record against team Nos. 2-7. Overall, Wake Forest outscored those opponents 28-13.
-Wake Forest played all four teams that are participating in next weekend's College Cup. The Deacs went 2-1-1 against them, beating Syracuse and Akron while tying Clemson and losing to Stanford.
-The Deacs finish the season with the country's highest total attendance at 46,248. Creighton finishes second at 46,171 for the season.
-Wake Forest ends the campaign with 48 goals scored while only allowing 13. As a team, the Deacs finish with a 0.58 goals against average, falling just short of the 0.52 program record in 2007.
-Freshman Jack Harrison finished a record-breaking season with eight goals and 11 assists. He ended the campaign tied with Jon Bakero for the team-high in goals while his 11 assists and 27 points led the Deacs.
-The Demon Deacons did not start a senior in the Elite Eight matchup. Of the two seniors on the team -- Michael Gamble and Philip Parker -- Gamble was the only one to record any minutes with 30. It was his first action since the Oct. 20 win against Georgia State.
-Gamble and Parker leave Wake Forest with 48 wins, never winning less than 10 games in a single season.