The Elon Men's Soccer team won the first NCAA Tournament game in school history after a 1-1 (4-1) shootout win over Clemson on Thursday, Nov. 21.
With the victory, Elon advances to the second round in the NCAA Soccer Championship and will travel to Los Angeles to face UCLA, the tournament's number one overall seed on Sunday.
In the shootout, Elon made all four of its attempts, while Clemson only converted one of three. Junior forward Jason Waterman, who scored the golden goal to win the Southern Conference Championship, played hero again, slotting the game-winning penalty kick past Clemson keeper Andrew Tarbell.
"We work on [penalty kicks] and we practice them," Elon Coach Darren Powell said. "We just tell the guys to be confident. It's very important they have confidence when they step forward and Nathan Dean has made big saves all year. He made one at the end of the game tonight and he's going to produce a save or two. "
In the first half of the contest, the game never looked like it would make it to a shootout, let alone be close at all. Clemson knocked Elon back onto its heels and went on the attack with four shots in the game's first seven minutes. By the time the referee blew the whistle to end the half, Clemson had outshot Elon at an 8-1 clip, had six corners to Elon's one, and never eased pressure off the Phoenix. Despite all this though, the game remained tied.
The second half, was a completely different story. The Phoenix came out on fire, scorching three shots on net that all went just wide. Finally, in the 59th minute, the scoreless draw was broken when Waterman scored his SoCon-leading 12th goal of the year.
Clemson responded just 10 minutes late when Thales Moreno curled one in the right upright past Dean to equalize the score at one.
Over the remainder of the half both teams threatened with runs into the opposition's zone, but the defenses were able hold strong and send the game into overtime.
Elon's Matt Wescoe opened up the extra round by scoring on his first shot. Clemson's Thomas McNamara responded by scoring a PK of his own, but that would be the last time the Tigers found net as two and three shooters nailed the upright and missed the goal completely. James Brace and Caue Da Silva also scored in the penalty shootout for the Phoenix.
Elon's game against UCLA will be on Sunday Nov. 24 at 8 p.m. at Drake Stadium in Los Angeles.