On September 22nd, 2010, head coach Mike Noonan earned his first win as Clemson head coach alongside assistant coach Phil Jones with a 1-0 overtime victory against the Furman Paladins.
Tuesday night, almost 10 years to the date after his first win, Noonan captured his 100th on the same field at Furman with associate head coach Jones still by his side. The Tigers earned Tuesday’s victory by seeing Kimarni Smith and Robbie Robinson each net one goal in the second half to propel the Tigers to a 2-0 decision.
Noonan reflected on the milestone by saying, “Tonight was a special night for [Phil] Jones and I. This is the place where we earned our first win and where we earned our 100th as well. Furman has treated us well.”
The opening 45 minutes of play saw both teams struggle to find rhythm. A hard-fought battle in the midfield prevented the attacking force for the Tigers from establish their traditional dominance on the opponent’s backline. Clemson was held to just three shots in the opening half, with James Brighton putting two on frame.
In the 62nd minute, Robbie Robinson received the ball at the midfield and took a positive first touch, allowing the junior forward to beat his defender and storm down the sideline. Kimarni Smith was in front of an open goal once Robinson passed the ball along the six-yard line, letting Smith to tally his ninth goal of the season.
Robinson would later be rewarded for his efforts with a goal of his own in the closing seconds of the match, slotting away a ball in the same spot as Smith after Brighton recreated Robinson’s earlier run off of a perfect distribution from George Marks.
In a game which saw 29 fouls called, Clemson kept their composure and managed to control the pace of play in the second 45 minutes of action.
“Keeping composure was a key to the game which we warned our side about last night,” said Noonan. “We held our composure because we have great leadership. The guys did what they needed to do to earn a win tonight.”
The fourth-ranked Clemson Tigers now look to a weekend match-up against the seventh-ranked Wake Forest Demon Deacons. This match will be under the national spotlight as the two sides square off in Winston-Salem, N.C. The match is set for a 7 p.m. start.
—courtesy Clemson Athletic Communications