#34 Clemson Men's Soccer 2013 Preview

Clemson Tigers

Overall Rank: #34
Conference Rank: #7 ACC
#34 Clemson Men's Soccer 2013 Preview
Clemson Team Page


Coach Mike Noonan is building up the Clemson program. The schedule is always going to be tough in the ACC and the Tigers failed to capitalize on their opportunities in 2012. That will have to change this time around. In their eight regular season losses, the Tigers were shut out seven times. Timely goals were hard to come by and they will have to move on without their top goal scorer, Austin Savage, who netted eight of the teams 22 goals.

2012 Record: 6-9-5, 3-2-4
2012 Postseason: None
Coach: Mike Noonan

Clemson will be able to stay in most contests because of their defense. Center back Phanuel Kavita is a big, tough and athletic defender. He should compete for All-ACC honors when all is said and done. The experience around him will help the Tigers improve on their fifth best goals against average in the ACC. Promising sophomore Kyle Fisher will join Kavita in the middle. He started all 20 games as a freshman and that experience is huge. Jack Metcalf is back for yet another year of starting at right back. Left back Amadou Dia will get involved in the offense more than any of the other backs, but he is a fine defensive presence as well. Incoming freshman Mariq Hill has time to develop with four starters returning to the back line, but he may be too good to leave on the bench all year long. The depth and talent on defense is superb, but it may not show up in the statistics if Clemson struggles to replace keeper Cody Mizell. Mizell started the last three seasons for the Tigers and opted to skip out on his senior season. Sophomore Chris Glodack started three games in 2012 and Andrew Tarbell is a promising player who did not see any action as a freshman. Glodack and Tarbell are good goalies, but replacing the steadying influence Mizell provided in the back could be problematic.

For Clemson it will still come down to scoring goals. Savage was the most productive striker Clemson has had during the Coach Noonan era. Iain Smith played in just three games in 2012 before suffering a season ending injury. His return will at least give the Tigers some more options. Bobby Belair and Thomas McNamara, both incoming transfers from Brown, are capable goal scorers as well whether they are up top or dropped back in the midfield. Kyle Murphy showed promise as a freshman, scoring one goal in 16 appearances. Some of the scoring will have to come from the midfield, most notably wings Ara Amirkhanian and Manolo Sanchez. Those two are a dynamic duo out wide that can do a lot of creative work. Amirkhanian scored five goals on just 19 shots, while Sanchez tends to get on the end of more passes despite finding the back of the net just two times. That number could easily be much higher. Sanchez is also the top assist man on the team.

Final Projection:
The rest of the Clemson midfield is strong as well with Paul Clowes and Alex Stockinger back to man the middle of the pitch. Stockinger, a 6-1 senior, netted three goals and has the ability to push forward more often when Clemson needs an extra man in the attack. Stockinger is just a sophomore, but started 16 games a year ago and quickly turned into a passing threat offensively and an enforcer defensively. This was a pretty young group in 2012 and Coach Noonan is putting together some nice pieces. Somebody, or preferably somebodies, must step up and start finding the back of the net on a consistent basis. The ACC has too much striking talent for this group to hope for nil-nil draws. A few timely goals here and there and Clemson will drastically increase their win total from the six they mustered in 2012. If a few of those wins happen against quality opponents, Clemson will be playing for a trip to the NCAA Tournament in November.

Projected Postseason: NCAA

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Ara Amirkhanian, Junior, M, 5
Assists: Manolo Sanchez, Junior, M, 6
Shots: Manolo Sanchez, Junior, M, 40
Saves: Chris Glodack, Sophomore, GK, 11


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