The Daily Gamecock

Clemson hands South Carolina men's soccer first loss of season


Undefeated South Carolina headed for their first road game Friday night against their upstate rivals, Clemson. The Gamecocks are coming off a pair of wins where they handled Mercer 2-1 and had an incredible second half to squeeze past Georgia Southern 4-2. Clemson, ranked ninth in the nation, have also enjoyed a winning season behind solid team play. Out of the seven goals of the season, Clemson has six different scorers (midfielder Paul Clowes has two goals). South Carolina won last year’s matchup 2-1 in double overtime.

First half

The first half started physical and didn’t let up. Fouls plagued South Carolina and allowed Clemson to receive set pieces early on. The Tigers threatened on every piece, but couldn’t put one into the back of net as a few balls knocked off the piping. Then, in the 26th minute, Austen Burnikel passed to Oliver Shannon for his second goal of the season. Minutes later, a Clemson goal was waved offsides.

The South Carolina defense looked gassed by the middle of the first half from keeping up with Clemson’s winged attack. But in the 33', the Tigers’ T.J. Casner scored off a fastbreak run in which three Gamecocks tailed him down the field.

South Carolina’s only good chance came in the 29th minute when junior Koty Millard had his shot saved out of bounds by goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell. The junior only had to make two saves on four shots in the first half.

To add to the physicality, both Millard and senior Jeffrey Torda were booked for yellows in the 13th and 14th minutes, respectively. Clemson outshot South Carolina 10 to four, with three shots on goal and three coming off the plumbing.

Second half

The second half started off fast for both teams. Redshirt senior Asa Kryst had a great chance in the 47’, but Tarbell had a save to keep the ball from the net. Clemson came back down the field in minute 50, launching shots into the South Carolina defense. They had two corners in that minute, but their third goal came in the 52nd minute.

Shannon took a shot aimed at the far post, and when junior Marco Velez jumped for the save, a Gamecock defender jumped in the way. The ball deflected off his leg and trickled into the net. That was the Liverpool man’s second goal.

The match slowed down significantly as South Carolina turned up their offense, but Clemson parked their defense.

South Carolina ended the game with 12 shots, four of them on goal, 19 fouls and two corners. Clemson had 19 shots, four on goal, 19 fouls and 11 corners.

Man of the match

It seemed like Velez had the ball in his hands more South Carolina’s forwards had it in their feet. South Carolina couldn’t set up their offense all night due to Clemson’s high offensive pressure, and that made Velez’s job difficult. Velez commanded his back line, yelling at defenders when they were missing assignments and when the Tigers were trying to add to their score total. His passion for the game continued even when the Gamecocks went down 3-0.