Clemson tops Syracuse on penalties to reach College Cup final

College Cup

Syracuse was the better team, but Clemson goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell was the best player on the field in the first of two College Cup semifinals Friday night that saw the Tigers advance to their first national championship game since 1987. 

Tarbell, a junior from Mandeville, Louisiana, turned away chance after chance created by the Orange attack and stopped the Syracuse’s first attempt in the penalty shootout en route to a 4-1 penalty shootout win. The first-team all-ACC keeper finished the evening with eight saves to register his ninth clean sheet of the season.

Ben Polk, Chris Nanco and Oyvind Alseth were left to ponder what could have been with chances they each had to send the Orange through in the program’s first ever College Cup appearance.

Clemson only managed three shots on goal – including a couple off corners that Hendrik Hilpert did well to keep out – but put on a clinic in the shootout. Iman Mafi, Michael Melvin, Thales Moreno and T.J. Casner each buried their attempts. Julian Buescher was the only one to convert for the Orange – Alseth’s attempt was saved by Tarbell and Oskar Sewerin’s sailed wide of the post.

The Tigers will be playing in the program’s fourth title game on Sunday. Clemson beat San Diego State 2-1 in the 1987 final and Indiana by the same score three years earlier, but lost 3-2 to SIU Edwardsville in 1979.


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