Men's Soccer

Syracuse men’s soccer knocked out of ACC tournament by Clemson on penalty kicks

Courtesy of The ACC

Clemson advanced to the ACC semifinals after tying Syracuse on Sunday and coming out on top after penalty kicks.

Hendrik Hilpert lay down at what had just happened.

On the first penalty-kick goal, the Syracuse goalie dove in the correct direction but couldn’t get a finger on it. On the next two, he watched as Clemson liners soared above him. On the final blow, he reached for Diego Campos’ strike to no avail.

Clemson converted on each of its four penalty kicks.

“They demonstrated a clinical ability to score those,” Syracuse head coach Ian McIntyre said.

Syracuse tallied four goals last Wednesday for the first time in over a year, senior midfielder Chris Nanco netted his first goals since Sept. 9, and the SU defense shut down the Panthers even without Miles Robinson. But Syracuse’s triumph last week was minimized on Sunday afternoon, when No. 4 seed Clemson (11-2-5, 4-1-3 Atlantic Coast) tied the fifth-seeded Orange (11-3-4, 3-2-3), then advanced on penalty kicks, 4-2, in the ACC quarterfinal at Riggs Field in Clemson, South Carolina.

The Tigers will advance to the ACC semifinal on Wednesday night to play No. 8 seed Boston College. That game’s winner will compete next Sunday in the ACC title game. Syracuse, meanwhile, waits until its NCAA tournament seeding is announced. The tournament kicks off Nov. 19.

Minutes after a second-half save by Hilpert, Clemson struck the first blow of the game. Hilpert caught a missile directed right at him, held onto it and smiled. A minute or so later, Syracuse generated a chance from inside the box but Clemson’s defense took over, leading to offense.

All season, Syracuse had restricted opponents from counter attacks. This time, Campos, Clemson’s junior forward, dashed down field. A feed from Patrick Bunk-Anderse into space left a foot race between SU’s Louis Cross and Clemson’s leading scorer. Campos beat Cross to the ball and stroked it home past Hilpert to make it 1-0.

“Campos’ speed and athleticism caught us in transition,” McIntyre said. “We had done a good job up until that moment. It was one big direct ball that had us on our heels.”

Hilpert entered Sunday tied for first in the ACC with 10 solo shutouts. His only chance on the breakaway was to cut off Campos’ angle. Clemson’s striker added enough strength to the grounder for his sixth goal of the season.

A long-awaited breakout from Nanco powered Syracuse past Pittsburgh in the first round. But after a shot in the first half that Nanco missed wide left, he grimaced in pain, grabbing his leg. He exited the game shortly before halftime, leaving Syracuse without its leading scorer. McIntyre said Nanco will be evaluated.

The Tigers, coming off a first-round bye, have played several shutouts and low-scoring affairs. Entering Sunday, their 1.41 goals per game placed third to last in the ACC. Clemson’s 0.55 goals-against average was tied with Syracuse for third in the conference.

But a hand ball penalty set up a penalty kick for Sergio Camargo. The senior lined the ball to the upper left of the net for the tie. It was Camargo’s second goal of the year that sent the game into overtime.

After two overtime periods, though, Clemson retook control and sealed the win on Campos’ penalty kick.

“A tough way to end the game,” McIntyre said. “When it gets to penalties, it’s a lottery. Unfortunately, today it went to Clemson.”

A win against Clemson continues to loom over SU. For the third consecutive game against the Tigers, Syracuse could not come out with a victory.

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