Only 15 minutes had run off the game clock when Boston College men’s soccer’s captain, Diego Ochoa, went down with an injury, hobbling off the field.
The loss of Ochoa, a junior defensemen, further exposed the young Eagles’ already-evident lack of size, maturity, and experience. These deficits ultimately contributed to a 6–0 loss against Clemson (9–3–2, 4–2–1 Atlantic Coast), which gave BC (3–8–4, 0–5–2) its fourth loss in a row on the Tigers’ Senior Night.
Clemson took control from the moment the game began, dominating on defense by applying high-up pressure that stopped the Eagles from developing any offensive flow.
Seven minutes into the match, Clemson senior Brandon Parish found a good look at the goal due to poor marking by BC. Parish barely missed as his shot went inches over the crossbar. The shot was the first of countless looks for Clemson that barely missed the mark.
When Ochoa went down in the 15th minute, the already-inexperienced Eagles got even more thin. Prior to Friday’s matchup, two-thirds of the Eagles’ total minutes played this season had been played by underclassmen, making winning a difficult feat against an experienced powerhouse such as Clemson. The Eagles will also face conference-giants Wake Forest and Syracuse next week, which could also prove to be a problem in terms of lacking exposure.
19 minutes into the match, the Eagles saw an opportunity arise, but their chance at a free kick did not go as planned. Clemson’s seemingly lazy defense on the free kick morphed into a race between the two sides upfield toward the Eagles’ goal.
Clemson freshman Arthur Duquenne attempted a shot, but was rejected by BC goalkeeper Brennan Klein. Senior Alex Meinhard had Duquenne’s back, though, and followed with a second-chance shot that ended up in BC’s net.
The goal, although ugly and scrappy, boosted the Tigers’ confidence. A mere 3:39 later, the Tigers struck again on a successful penalty kick executed by Clemson’s star senior midfielder, Ousmane Sylla.
The penalty kick came as a result of a questionable penalty assessed within BC’s penalty box—a call which warranted a second look by game officials but ultimately got upheld, leading to a 2–0 advantage for the Tigers.
Clemson’s convincing lead did not cause it to back down. The Tigers maintained a relentless defensive press which gave them a series of corner kicks and kept BC on the defensive end.
With 15 minutes left in the first half, Sylla struck again, expertly weaving between two BC defenders in a great show of skill which ended with an exciting goal and gave Clemson a 3–0 lead.
Shortly after Sylla’s second goal, tensions flared between teams as a Clemson defender clumsily knocked over BC forward Drew Serafino. The tense interaction between the two squads, although brief, showcased the Eagles’ immense frustration with the game’s progression.
With just over 12 minutes remaining in the first half, Meinhard found Clemson midfielder Nathan Richmond on a run. Richmond finished the short goal with his back leg in an impressive show of skill that gave Clemson its fourth goal in a 14-minute span.
Clemson’s dominance on both sides of the ball only continued. At the end of the first half, BC had only one shot on goal.
The second half was largely reminiscent of the first. The Eagles were unable to get anything going offensively, leading to countless turnovers and intercepted passes.
Meinhard picked up right where he left off, scoring his second goal of the night five minutes into the second half after BC’s front-line defenders left Klein on an island.
The Eagles’ offensive struggles dragged on. With 37 minutes left on the clock, BC freshman Alfi Hughes dribbled upfield, only to be flanked by two Clemson defenders who easily caused a turnover.
BC notched two quick corner kicks in the second half, but there seemed to be nobody there to finish the attempts for a goal. On both kicks, the Tigers quickly got the ball out of their goal zone.
In the 16th minute, Sylla topped off Clemson’s senior night with his first career hat trick, leaving Clemson’s rowdy crowd ecstatic.
With 25 minutes left in the game and a 6–0 lead, Clemson pulled out its starting goalkeeper, as well as Sylla.
BC midfielder and leading scorer on the season, Jonathan Murphy, went down with an injury with 21 minutes remaining. Although BC avoided giving up any more goals in the final 30 minutes of the game, the game had already been convincingly won by the Tigers.