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No. 8 Tigers to Face No. 2 Washington in the NCAA National Championship

December 12, 2021
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CLEMSON, S.C. —  The eighth-seeded Clemson men’s soccer team (15-5-2, 5-3 ACC) is slated to play second-seeded Washington (18-1-2, 6-1-2 PAC 12) in the National Championship match on Sunday, December 12 at 2 p.m. at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. The match is televised on ESPNU and will also stream on the ESPN App. Tickets for the match are still available at this link. 

This will be Clemson’s fifth all-time National Championship appearance and the program seeks its third National Championship, while Washington will see their first appearance in the National Championship in program history. Clemson won titles in 1984 and 1987. 

This marks the second-ever matchup between the squads and the first time in 25 years, with the Huskies winning the sole meeting 4-1 in 1996.

The Tigers are currently 57-28-8 all-time in the NCAA tournament and Washington is 20-25-3 during the NCAA tournament.

Clemson's road to the championship includes a 1-0 win over Denver in the round of 32, a 2-1 over No. 9 Kentucky in the Round of 16, a 1-1 draw (4-3 in PKs) at No. 1 Oregon State in the quarterfinal and a 1-1 draw (5-3 in PKs) against No. 4 Notre Dame in the semifinal.

In Friday's match against No. 4 Notre Dame, Clemson avenged a 2-0 home loss in October. The Tigers struck first as Pipe Fernandez took a touch to his right and hit a brilliant shot that banged off the underside of the crossbar and over the goal line to give Clemson the first lead of the game.

Notre Dame tied it up on a penalty kick just ten minutes later in what would be the match's final goal. Both defenses held steady for the remainder of the half. The Irish out-shot the Tigers 4-3 and earned two corners to Clemson's zero.

Clemson came out of halftime committed to possession, but was unable to create any clear-cut chances in the first ten minutes of the half. Notre Dame created a turnover in dangerous territory with just over 20 minutes remaining, but the resulting shot rolled just wide of the frame.

After two scoreless 10 minute overtime periods, and a pair of brilliant saves from George Marks, the Tigers and Fighting Irish headed to penalties.

The Tigers and Fighting Irish went back and forth for the first three shots with successful attempts from John Martin, Luis Felipe Fernandez-Salvador and Oskar Ägren. Hamady Diop made the first attempt of the fourth frame before, once again, the senior captain Marks shined on the biggest stage in college soccer as he dove to his right side and saved the Fighting Irish's fourth penalty, before Malou's goal pushed Clemson over the edge and into the National Championship match.

"The character of our team is something we've relied on throughout the course of the year, and it turned up again tonight," said Head Coach Mike Noonan. "It was a good college soccer game, and we are very thankful and humbled that we were able to advance."

Eight Huskies earned All-Pac 12 accolades this year, highlighted by the Pac 12 Defensive Player of the Year in redshirt senior Ryan Sailor. Joining him on the Pac 12 First Team is junior defender Charlie Ostrem and junior midfielder Dylan Teves, who leads the team with 12 goals, seven assists and 31 points. Junior defender Kendall Burks and redshirt junior Lucas Meek made the Pac 12 Second Team while Christian Soto, Nick Scardina and Kalana Kossa-Rienzi are members of the Third Team. 

Clemson is 2-2 in the National Championship match. The last time the Tigers appeared in the National Championship was in 2015, a match the Tigers lost to Stanford in Kansas City, Mo. 

Following a 10 minute cool down period, post-game press conferences will be held in person and via zoom at the following link: Zoom. Passcode for the zoom is 354316. The losing team's coach will speak first, followed by the winning head coach and select players.

For all the most up-to-date information regarding Clemson men's soccer, please visit ClemsonTigers.com and follow @ClemsonMSoccer on Twitter and Instagram.

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No. 8 Tigers to Face No. 2 Washington in the NCAA National Championship

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