The defending National Champion Clemson Men’s Soccer team was announced as the number 6 national seed Monday and earned a first-round bye before playing host to the winner of the match between UCLA and California Baptist.
Seeded ahead of the Tigers were Kentucky, Washington, Syracuse, Virginia and Stanford, in that order.
First-round matches will take place on campuses on Thursday, November 17th, with the winners advancing to the second round on November 20th.
This would appear to be a distinct advantage for the Tigers as UCLA and Cal Baptist would not only have to play a match on the 17th, but then have to travel across the country to play Clemson at Historic Riggs Field in less than 72 hours.
The 13-6-1 Tigers made it to the ACC Tournament Finals, beating No. 7 national seed Duke and NCAA tournament invitee Wake Forest, before losing to No. 3 national seed Syracuse Sunday.
Besides UCLA and Cal Baptist, also in Clemson’s bracket is Quinnipiac, Vermont and SMU.
On the other side of the bracket is Oregon State (8), Lipscomb (9), Louisville, Western Michigan, Portland and UC Riverside.
After starting the season 6-0, the Tigers hit a rough patch, going 2-5-1 stretch before winning their last 3 matches of the regular season and defeating Duke and Wake Forest in the ACC Tournament.
Clemson men’s soccer played 11 matches against NCAA Tournament teams this season
Other teams Clemson played that made the tournament were Indiana, Syracuse (2), Wake Forest (2), North Carolina, Pittsburgh, UNC – Greensboro, Virginia, Louisville and Duke.
The Tigers had a 4-6-1 record against those teams, which means all of their losses (and the tie) came to NCAA tournament teams.
Clemson’s run through the tournament last year included wins over this year’s top seed Kentucky, this year’s No. 8 seed Oregon State, Notre Dame and this year’s No. 2 seed Washington.
In the matches the quarterfinal match against Oregon State and the Final Four match with Notre Dame, Clemson advanced on penalty kicks before beating Washington, 2-0 in the final to claim the Tigers third National Championship.