AMHERST, Mass. – After playing a hard-fought 110 minutes at Rudd Field on Sunday afternoon, the Clemson men’s soccer team finished its Massachusetts road trip with a 0-0 draw against the UMass Minutemen. With the tie, Clemson moved to 3-2-1 on the year, while UMass moved to 2-2-2.
Clemson outshot the Minutemen 9-0 in the first 45 minutes of play, with Malick Mbaye, Sindri Björnsson, Andrew Burnikel, Kimarni Smith, Adrian Nuñez, John Murphy Jr., Quinn McNeill and Justin Malou all getting looks. But with four shots going wide or high, four being blocked and one getting saved by UMass keeper Trey Miller, the Tigers and Minutemen stood scoreless at the half.
UMass came out of the break with some more offensive power, taking five shots in the second half and seeing Clemson freshman keeper George Marks make his first collegiate save in the 67th minute. The Tigers kept pace with the Minutemen, though, taking six shots in the half. Clemson bookended the half with its two best opportunities, with one coming in the form of a Smith header that went high in the 49th minute, and the other as a McNeill close-range shot that was saved by Miller in the 84th minute. With the 0-0 score intact at the end of regulation, the teams headed to overtime.
The first overtime period was relatively quiet, with each team taking a shot that went wide left. UMass nearly took the game early in the second overtime, but Marks saved the James McPherson shot to keep the score tied at zero, which proved to be the final.
“I thought we played very well, particularly in the first half,” said head coach Mike Noonan. “UMass is a very difficult team to break down. We created some chances that could have changed the game, but we were poor in front of the goal. However, there were many positives to take away and work on as we prepare for Syracuse this week.
“I thought that the contributions of Andrew Burnikel and Cale Thorne were terrific, as well as those from Patrick Bunk-Andersen and Malick Mbaye. It was also nice to get George Marks his first collegiate shutout, and he protected it well with a spectacular save in overtime. There were points lost on the trip, but the growth of the team continues to impress me.”
After playing five of their first six matches on the road, the Tigers return to Historic Riggs Field for a three-match stint that begins on Friday at 7:30 p.m. against Syracuse.
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