By John Manley
The soccer season didn’t end the way either Trevor Adair or John Melody would have scripted it to. Adair’s Clemson Tigers and Melody’s Mercyhurst Lakers lost their respective games in NCAA playoff action during the past week.
Clemson, ranked No. 1 in Div. I, met the second-ranked Indiana Hoosiers in a quarterfinal contest at Clemson, with Indiana prevailing, 2-1.
Indiana was first on the board in the 19th minute, but Clemson evened the score when Wojtek Krakowiak found the net 11 minutes later. The winning goal was scored in the 48th minute.
It obviously wasn’t meant to be for Clemson. They had numerous chances to knot the score in the final 20 minutes, but Indiana keeper T.J. Hannig was up to the challenge, recording all three of his saves during that span.
"Soccer is a game of inches," the stoic Adair, a Belfast native, said afterward. "We hit the crossbar and the post once each in the last 20 minutes, then hit the keeper square in the chest. That is what separates the good from the better teams."
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The Hoosiers also varied their gameplan, which stymied the Tigers, as confirmed by Adair.
"Indiana usually plays three in the back, but today they played four," Adair said. "With their team speed and athleticism, we couldn’t get the ball around them in the back. They were well organized offensively and defensively. They took us out of our gameplan. These were the two best teams in the country. It is unfortunate that we had to meet in the quarterfinals."
Clemson finished the season 22-2. The loss broke a 17-game winning streak.
The Indiana goals were the first scored against Clemson since the Oct. 28 match with Elon.
As for Melody’s Mercyhurst squad, a victory against South Carolina-Spartanburg apparently wasn’t in the cards. After all, the meeting was scheduled for Spartanburg’s pitch. The Rifles’ starting goalie, Jeff Negalha, had been red-carded in the quarterfinal win over Lynn, but replacement Chad Todd made 10 saves. Spartanburg won the Div. II semifinal contest, 2-0. The Rifles improved to 23-0 with the win.
Mercyhurst closes the book on 1998 with a 17-4-1 mark. The previous time Mercyhurst advanced to the final four, Spartanburg took them down. Melody will now repair to his home ground of Dungarvan, Co. Waterford to plot a return in 1999.
East Tennessee State journeyed to Hawaii for two tournaments recently.
Senior Eamonn Brady from Dublin finished 14th of 38 golfers in the Stan Shoriff Intercollegiate at the Makena South Course in Maui with a 54-hole total of 11-over-par 227. Brady carded identical 78s his first two tours of the course, then slashed seven strokes off those with a 71 the final time.
Texas’ Matt Brost was the medalist at 213. ETSU finished fourth in the seven-team field, which was topped by Texas.
The Buccaneers stuck around the islands to await the Mauna Kea Resort Invitational at the Hapuna Golf Club in Hilo. After 54 holes, Brady was fourth on the board with a 4-over 220 (75-74-71). Clemson was also on hand for this event, with Belfast frosh Michael Hoey tying for 14th place with two others at 11-over 227 (77-75-75). Hoey’s teammate Lucas Glover shot 213 for low score of the tournament. Clemson also won the team trophy handily over Purdue, 871-905. ETSU was a stroke back of the Boilermakers in third, with 906.