BLACKSBURG, VA.- The seventh-ranked Clemson men’s soccer team picked up its first ACC win of the season on Friday night in Blacksburg with a 2-1 win over No. 19 Virginia Tech improving to 5-1-1 (1-1-1 ACC). Junior Grayson Raynor put away the game-winning goal in the 87th-minute and his first of the season to lift Clemson to its first ACC win of 2016.
Through the first ten minutes of the match, the two teams traded possession trying to dictate the pace of the game. In the 14th-minute, Virginia Tech jumped out to the 1-0 lead when Elias Tamburini was able to finish after the ball fell to him after ricocheting off the post from a previous shot by the Hokies. For the next 20 minutes, Clemson pressured the Hokies back line but could not find the equalizer. With four minutes remaining in the first half junior Diego Campos earned a free kick inches outside of the box, and senior Aaron Jones was able to play the ball around the wall into the side netting for his second goal of the season evening the score at one going into halftime.
The second half started off slow with both teams trying to maintain possession. The first real opportunity of the second half came in the 56th-minute by way of Grayson Raynor, but Ben Lundgaard of Virginia Tech was in position for the save. Both sides had their chances in the first 30 minutes of the second half, but neither team was able to find the go-ahead goal. With 12 minutes to play, Virginia Tech put the pressure on Clemson with four quick shots but sophomore goalkeeper Ximo Miralles was able to keep the score level at one. In the 87th-minute Raynor left the Virginia Tech goalkeeper flat-footed curling a shot into the upper ninety, assisted by senior Oliver Shannon to give the Tigers their first ACC win of the 2016 season.
“Coming from behind and winning ACC games on the road is a testament to our player’s commitment. Credit to Virginia Tech as they are much improved,” said Head Coach Mike Noonan. “However, we continue to search for our best form and tonight’s performance was far from it. Now have another quick turnaround down to USF.”
In the match, Clemson took a total of 18 shots, nine in each half. Miralles once again was strong for the Tigers recording five saves improving to 3-1-1 overall.
The Clemson men’s soccer team is back in action when it travels to Tampa, Fla. on Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 7:00 p.m. to take on the University of South Florida.
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