Upset! No. 10 Men’s Soccer Takes Down No. 1 Clemson on Penalty Kicks

from HerdZone.com 

CARY, N.C. – The 10th-ranked Marshall men's soccer team pulled off the upset of No. 1 Clemson Tigers in the third round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday. The game ended tied at 1-1 after two overtimes and then the Herd earned the victory 7-6 on penalty kicks. Junior Vitor Dias hit the winner after junior goalkeeper Oliver Semmle made a great save to create the chance.

 
The Thundering Herd moves on to the Elite 8 where it will face the defending National Champions, No. 8 Georgetown Hoyas. The match is set for Monday at 1 p.m., from WakeMed Field #2. This is the first time in program history that Marshall will play in the Elite 8. Marshall and Georgetown have met just once before, back in 2007, a 1-0 Hoyas win.
 
"It was a bit of a whirlwind there at the end with the penalties," Herd head coach Chris Grassie said. "I felt like we should have won it beforehand. I thought the guys battled hard and played really well. It was two good teams with the momentum going back-and-forth, but I thought we had some fantastic chances to win.
 
"Pretty happy with the performance. Oliver Semmle is the best goalkeeper in the country, hands down. He struggled a little bit in the beginning, but not a problem because he is still brave enough to step up and continue playing. The whole team kept their composure. Just proud, very proud.
 
"Our goal is not to beat the number one team, it is to be the number one team. This is over and done, put it behind us and moving on to the next one. Georgetown in the Elite 8."
 
Marshall has played extra soccer in both of its NCAA Tournament matches so far, taking down Fordham in the 97th minute in the second round, and now all the way to penalty kicks. The last time the Herd was in a PK shootout at the end of a match was Nov. 11, 2015 in the first round of the Conference USA Tournament. Marshall was tied 1-1 after 110 minutes against No. 24 Charlotte and then defeated the 49ers, 5-4 in the shootout.
 
Both teams took some time at the beginning of the first half to feel things out and find a rhythm. The first shot of the match came in the ninth minute from senior Pedro DolabellaA foul against Clemson in the 15th minute gave the Herd an opportunity for a free kick. Sophomore Max Schneider blasted it from about 30 yards out that curled into the upper left corner of the net for the first goal of the match. It was Schneider's second goal of the season and fourth of his career.
 
The teams continued a physical battle as four total yellow cards were handed out in the first half, two to each team. Clemson hit the equalizer in the 32nd minute after the ball ricocheted a couple times inside the 6-yard box after a corner kick. Callum Johnson finally tapped it in low on the far side. The Herd had a couple of opportunities late in the half, but could not convert. The match was tied at 1-1 at the half.
 
The squads came out running in the second half as neither team looked to just sit back and defend. Clemson had five shots in the second half to Marshall's four. However, none of the Tigers' shots were on goal. Senior Jamil Roberts had one shot on goal in the period that was stopped by George Marks, Clemson's keeper. After a total of 17 fouls were called in the first half, 16 more were called in the second. In the latter part of the frame, both teams were beginning to slow down and dealing with cramps in the heat, however the players kept fighting through.
 
Each team had two shots in the first overtime with Clemson firing one on goal with six minutes remaining, but Semmle was there to make an incredible diving stop. In the second overtime, Marshall had three shot attempts all coming from redshirt sophomore Milo YosefYosef created some great opportunities for himself but just could not connect for the golden goal.
 
Marshall's defense stood tall against Clemson's attack especially off corner kicks as the Tigers had 14 to the Herd's one. Clemson had five corner kicks in the second half, one in the first overtime and two in the second overtime period yet Marshall's defense cleared away each one. Both teams had 12 total shots, with Clemson getting three on goal and Marshall had two.
 
The physical battle included 38 total penalties, 22 for Clemson and 16 for Marshall, as well as eight yellow cards with five for the Herd and three for the Tigers. And then the match moved on to penalty kicks.
 
"We have probably taken 20 to 30 penalty kicks each over the last few weeks in training leading up to this tournament," coach Grassie said discussing his lineup for the shootout. "We have been charting everything and we looked at our best ten who were the most consistent, and then we asked the guys who were on that list, 'do you want to take one, and who wants to kick when.'
 
"We trained. Nothing was left to chance. That was our best group and they were confident. They had done it so many times in training, and obviously it's a little different in the Sweet 16, but they did it."
 
In the shootout, Clemson converted on its first three attempts. For Marshall, junior Jan-Erik Leinhos missed on the first shot, but then the Herd never missed another one. Schneider and junior Nathan Dossantos both hit their shots to keep the Herd in the match. Semmle made the stop on Mohammed Seye, the fourth attempt by the Tigers, and then junior Vinicius Fernandes converted to tie it up at 3-3.
 
The teams continued to trade shots as Clemson made its next three. Roberts, sophomore Joao Souza and redshirt sophomore Ryan Sirk all converted and the shootout was tied at 6-6. Quinn McNeill of Clemson fired a low shot to the right side that was stopped by Semmle and opened the door for Marshall. Dias, who earlier in the week was named a MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist, fired a laser with his left foot to the far side to beat the keeper and push the Herd to the next round.