Adrian Nuñez netted a pair of goals and Quinn McNeill and Grayson Barber both found the back of the net for the first time in their Clemson careers as the Tigers defeated upstate foe Furman, 5-2, Tuesday night at Historic Riggs Field in Clemson.
“I’m happy that the team didn’t lose their heads after the first goal,” said Clemson head coach Mike Noonan. “They stayed at it. We got fortunate because they made a mistake, and that’s tough for any team to swallow because it changed the face of the game. But it was the correct call.
“I feel for Furman…their guys never quit. They played really well despite being a bit unlucky. I was really happy with our guys because they stayed at the job that was at hand…to win a Tuesday night game and play a full game. I’m proud of the way they played.”
With the win, Clemson improved to 4-2-1 on the year, while Furman fell to 3-4-0.
The Paladins took an early lead in the fifth minute after a Clemson foul in the box led to a penalty kick, which Laurence Wyke slotted just past the reach of Tiger keeper Jonny Sutherland. But Clemson quickly tied it up, when a Furman handball in the net led to a Tiger penalty kick that Tanner Dieterich capitalized on in the 11th minute.
The handball also resulted in a Paladin red card, giving the Tigers a one-man advantage for the remainder of the match.
Clemson really broke through in the 26th minute, when Nate Hall dribbled down the left side and sent a sharp cross into the box and found the foot of Adrian Nuñez, who netted Hall’s first career assist to put the Tigers up 2-1. Three minutes later, Clemson earned another penalty kick after another Furman foul in the box, and this time it was Nuñez who took it and scored, giving Clemson a two-goal advantage on his second goal of the match. The Tigers held that 3-1 lead at the break.
In the second half, a pair of first career goals just over a minute apart gave the Tigers a 5-1 lead, with the first coming in the 65th minute when Quinn McNeill netted a sliding shot from six yards out off a feed from Grayson Barber. Johnny Heckman found Barber before the freshman connected with McNeill, so the senior was also credited with an assist. A minute and four seconds later, Barber scored his first goal as a Tiger when he directed an attempted save by the Paladin keeper into the back of the net.
The Paladins netted a late goal with five minutes remaining in the matchup when Jacob Garzon fired a shot from 20 yards out that slipped past Clemson keeper Nolan Lennon, who entered the game in place of Sutherland in the 77th minute.
The Tigers return to action on Friday when they host No. 1 Wake Forest at Historic Riggs Field. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m., and the match will be televised on RSN.