The 19th-ranked Clemson men’s soccer team put on another good show Friday as they defeated UNC Greensboro 2-1 at Historic Riggs Field in Clemson.
The Tigers started off the scoring early in the first half. At the 7:35 mark, forward Kimarni Smith found his teammate up front, Grayson Barber, with a short pass across the box. With time and a ton of room, Barber practically had an open net as he put the ball away for the Tigers’ first score.
UNC Greensboro fought back, as it was able to tie the score, 1-1, at 32:49 in the match. UNCG’s Albert Pedra capitalized off of a well-placed cross, burying the team’s only goal of the match.
It was a gritty match for the Tigers as their opponent was quite physical on the pitch.
“You want a well rounded team,” Clemson head coach Mike Noonan said. “You want a team that’s got style and steel. I think that tonight showed that we have some steel, we can still work on it but we’ve developed some steel and we have the style to go along with it.”
Tied at one, Clemson freshman Phil Mayaka earned the victory for the Tigers in the first half. After receiving a ball around 30 yards from the cage, Mayaka whisked and weaved his way through the UNCG defense and delivered a rocket from outside of the box. Mayaka’s ball ripped into the top left corner of the goal for the eventual game-winner.
“It was a terrific goal and anyone who watched it can tell it’s highlight reel stuff,” Noonan said. “He’s got a lot of ability, but he’s also still got a lot to learn. Late stages of the game, he’s also got to understand tactically what he’s supposed to do but for most of the night he was special.
The Tigers face USC-Upstate Monday at Historic Riggs Field at 7 p.m.
–Photo courtesy Clemson Athletic Communications
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