Syracuse, N.Y. – The eighth-ranked Clemson men’s soccer team, which touts the top-ranked scoring offense in the nation, netted seven goals Saturday night in its 7-4 win over the Syracuse Orange. The Tigers have amassed a total of 49 goals this season after tonight’s result. Robbie Robinson earned his second hat-trick of the season, bringing his season tally to 12 goals and making him the first Clemson player since 1998 to log multiple hat-tricks in a single season.
“That was Robbie’s most complete game in a Clemson uniform,” said Head Coach Mike Noonan on the junior’s performance. “He displayed clinical finishing, he worked intelligently and showed class and quality.”
Clemson wasted no time in asserting their offensive dominance in the match, with Robinson breaking the deadlock in the fourth minute. The goal was the result of a delightful free-kick delivery from Felipe Fernandez, which found Justin Malou on the far post and allowed Robinson to slip into an open area of the box and slot home Malou’s cross-box pass with his head.
The Tigers used the momentum from the first goal to continue mounting attacks against the Orange. The team’s persistence paid off in the 27th minute as Robinson showcased a bit of skill and speed to glide by his defender on the touchline and nestle his shot inside the near post.
Three minutes after Robinson got his second of the night, Grayson Barber made the Tigers’ margin grow to three, as the sophomore elegantly converted a loose ball within the 18-yard box into a goal for his side while lying on his back.
After the Orange scored with six seconds remaining in the first half, Clemson quickly reasserted itself as the dominant side in the opening minutes of the second half. Mohamed Seye netted his third goal of the season after Felipe Fernandez served a ball from a corner kick to Seye’s head. Seye’s goal to open the Tigers’ scoring account in the second half would be the first of four goals by the Tigers in the final 45 minutes of play.
Barber scored his second goal of the match after a wonderful series of passes from George Marks and Seye, starting from the Tigers’ own six-yard box. Adrian Nunez and Robinson slotted away the team’s final two goals in the 82nd and 86th minutes, respectively. The goal for Nunez was his second on the year.
“We’re happy that we have our 12th win and our fourth ACC win,” said Noonan. “We are scoring goals at a high rate and the offense is doing their job. Our goals can come from a lot of different places.”
Marks produced a strong night in net despite the result, as the sophomore tallied eight saves in the 90 minutes of action. The eight saves are a single-game best for Marks, after tallying 10 total saves during his five appearances in his freshman campaign and having 15 through the first 12 matches of this season.
Saturday night’s result made it Clemson’s 11th game this season where the team has netted two or more goals in a match. This is the first time since 1996 that Clemson has three or more games in which they have scored seven or more goals in one season. The seven goals scored in Syracuse by the Tigers set a new single-match record for SU Soccer Stadium.
With Robinson and Barber combining for five goals in tonight’s game, the Tigers have now received 33 goals from the trio of Kimarni Smith, Robinson and Barber. Entering the match on Saturday night, the trio would have combined to out-score 201 teams in NCAA Division I.
The Tigers are now set to return to the pitch at Historic Riggs Field when they host Radford on Tuesday, Oct. 22. The match will be the precursor to Clemson’s Senior Night, which will be held prior to the team’s match against Boston College on Friday, Oct. 25. Both matches are slated for a 7 p.m. start.