LOUISVILLE – Ninth-seeded Clemson advanced to the National Championship match with a 1-0 shutout over No. 5 West Virginia (17-3-4) in the College Cup semifinal at Lynn Family Stadium in Louisville, Ky. Kickoff for the final is scheduled for Monday at 6 p.m. and will be shown on ESPNU against either Notre Dame or Oregon State. Shawn Smart’s second goal of the season, an incredible strike in the 37th minute, was all the Tigers would need in picking up the victory.
The Tigers (14-3-5) will advance to play in their sixth National Championship match in school history, the most recent a 2-0 victory over Washington in 2021. Clemson has claimed three titles in its history, including the 1984 and 1987 championships, and has appeared in three title games since 2015.
Clemson put five shots on goal, and surrendered just two all night against the Mountaineers in the teams’ first meeting since 1974. Joseph Andema earned the shutout, his fourth of the NCAA Tournament and tenth on the season.
Shawn Smart got the Tigers on the board in the 37th minute with a wicked right foot on a give-and-go with Mohamed Seye. Smart controlled a ball in the middle of the field and played a high ball in to Seye, who headed it back to Smart. Smart got his right foot on it and sent it near-side with pace past WVU keeper Jackson Lee.
West Virginia had a chance for the equalizer in the 58th minute as Marcus Caldeira sent a rocket from long, but the ball sailed just high above Andema’s outstretched hand.
Alex Meinhard gave the Tigers a chance to double the lead in the 65th minute as he dribbled to the left side of the box and let a shot go that Lee saved with his left foot. Trimnal had another chance in the 84th that Lee again kept out of net. However, Smart’s goal would stand as the Tiger defense was up to the challenge.
The Tigers are headed to the College Cup Final‼️#ClemsonUnited pic.twitter.com/D4agAqM5FT— Clemson Men's Soccer (@ClemsonMSoccer) December 9, 2023
The Tigers are headed to the College Cup Final‼️#ClemsonUnited pic.twitter.com/D4agAqM5FT
— Clemson Men's Soccer (@ClemsonMSoccer) December 9, 2023
That Smart connection 🤯📺 ESPNU | #ClemsonUnited pic.twitter.com/Lxb7FEXyYC— Clemson Men's Soccer (@ClemsonMSoccer) December 8, 2023
That Smart connection 🤯
📺 ESPNU | #ClemsonUnited pic.twitter.com/Lxb7FEXyYC
— Clemson Men's Soccer (@ClemsonMSoccer) December 8, 2023