Oct. 25, 2008
CLEMSON, SC – Nathan Thornton scored two goals including the game-winner in the second overtime period in leading Clemson to a 3-2 upset win over seventh-ranked North Carolina in a men’s Atlantic Coast Conference soccer match at Clemson, SC Saturday night.
Clemson is now 5-7-2 overall, and 3-3-1 in the ACC. North Carolina falls to 11-3-1 overall and 4-2 in league play. North Carolina is ranked seventh by Soccer America and the College Soccer News poll. The Tar Heels are ranked eighth by the NSCAA. The Tigers have never lost to an eighth-ranked team in the NSCAA poll at Clemson in school history. The Tigers are now 3-0-1 against eighth-ranked teams in the NSCAA poll when playing at Clemson.
This was the second top 10 win for the Tigers this season, as Clemson defeated fourth-ranked Maryland 5-3 on October 3. Ironically, the Tigers defeated 16th-ranked North Carolina and number-one ranked Maryland in the same season in 2006, at Clemson.
Freshman Nick Burton of Clemson also finished the match with two assists.
Clemson Head Coach Trevor Adair won his 52nd match over a top-25 team as he is in his 14th season at Tigertown. He has led Clemson to wins over North Carolina six times when the Tar Heels were ranked in the top 25. Five of the six victories were when the Tar Heels were ranked in the top 10. Also North Carolina was the first team that Adair claimed his first top 25-victory when the Tigers defeated the then ninth-ranked Tar Heels 3-0 on September 10, 1995.
In tonight’s match, North Carolina scored first at the 35:39 mark as Brian Shriver scored his 13th goal of the season. Dustin McCarty sent a low cross to Shriver inside the box. Shriver stepped into the ball and delivered a low shot into the right corner of the goal.
Clemson tied the score 1-1, early in the second half in the 51st minute. On a reset, Nathan Thornton who headed the ball in from seven yards out just under the cross bar near the left post for his second goal of the season.
North Carolina took the lead in the 61st minute. Shriver was dribbling in the box at the right and turned to his right and found Billy Schuler who was running in the box. Schuler fired a shot into the left corner of the netting for his third goal of the season.
Clemson tied the score, 2-2, at the 78:49 mark. Burton dribbled around a defender and then passed the ball back to Connor Barbaree. Barbaree took a shot from 18 yards out. The North Carolina goalkeeper Jacob Wescoe could not control the shot and the rebound went to his left. Hassan Ibrahim nodded the ball in the open nets for his fourth goal of the season.
Clemson outplayed North Carolina in the overtime periods by outshooting the Tar Heels 6-0. The sixth shot was the one that gave the Tigers the victory.
Thornton scored the game winner at the 108:28 mark, (1:32 left to go in the second overtime). Moore sent a long ball to the left side to Burton. Burton sent a cross to Thornton who stepped and shot the ball into the goal from nine yards out. It was Thornton’s second goal of the evening and third of the year.
“I could not be happier for our team,” said Clemson Head Coach Trevor Adair. We beat a very good North Carolina team. I’m proud in the way we played. We were very solid. I give our players a lot of credit. We pressed the issue in overtime and we believed we could win. Connor Barbaree played a great game. Our defenders continue to play hard. I can’t say enough about how well they played and keep us in games. This win will help this young team gain confidence and this bodes well for the future. We played three up front and this worked well for us. We had great effort in the midfield and this was a great win.”
Statistically, North Carolina had 15 shots to the Tigers’ 14. Clemson had the advantage in corner kicks, 5-4. Clemson’s goalkeeper, Joseph Bendik turned in a solid performance as he had four saves, while Jacob Wescoe of North Carolina had one.
Tonight’s meeting was the 52nd meeting between Clemson and North Carolina on the soccer field. Clemson now leads the overall series 27-19-6. However, when the two teams meet at Clemson, the Tigers lead the overall series 15-5-4. The Tigers have lost fewer matches to the Tar Heels at home then any other ACC school except for Maryland (5). Virginia Tech a recent addition to the ACC has played at Clemson just three times. In the last 14 matches between Clemson and North Carolina, 11 of the last 14 contests have been one-goal differential games.
The Tigers will play at Boston College on Friday, October 31, in Clemson’s next action. This will be the last ACC match of the regular season for the Tigers.
Historically the Tigers and North Carolina have had large crowds witness the matches between the two schools at Historic Riggs Field. On December 5, 1987, the Tigers defeated North Carolina in the NCAA Semifinals before a crowd of 6,500. Clemson defeated the Tar Heels that day on the way to the Tigers’ National Championship. Clemson defeated San Diego State for the crown the next day on December 6, 1987. Two years ago on September 15, 2006, Clemson defeated North Carolina 1-0 with a crowd of 7,012 on hand. Tonight’s attendance was 1,483.
Clemson 3, North Carolina 2 UNC – Brian Shriver (Dustin McCarty) 35:39 Clemson – Nathan Thornton (Keegan Priest) 50:55 UNC – Billy Schuler (Brian Shriver) 60:38 Clemson-Hassan Ibrahim (Nick Burton, Connor Babaree) 78:41 Clemson-Nathan Thornton (Bryson Moore, Nick Burton) 108:28
Shots: Clemson 14, North Carolina 15Corner Kicks: Clemson4, North Carolina 4Saves: Joseph Bendik (CU) 4, Jacob Wescoe (NC) 1Fouls: Clemson 16, North Carolina 20Attendance: 1,483
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