November 12, 2004
AUBURN –- The No. 16-ranked Auburn soccer squad tied its record season-high win total with its 15th victory of the year with a 2-0 shutout of Clemson in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament at the Auburn Soccer Complex.
Forwards Courtney Crandell and Chrissy Culver provided second-half scores for the Tigers as they defeated Clemson for the first time in five tries in the school’s history.
“I have to credit the crowd for being so loud and the fact that they have become very soccer smart is really exciting,” Auburn coach Karen Hoppa said. “They were cheering at all the right times.
“We were attacking the middle in the first half and needed to switch it up in the second half to get a better attack. Clemson is a great team, and it’s tough when two top-25 teams face each other in the first round. The little things make the difference in games like this.”
Crandell put Auburn on the board 1-0 in the 67th minute, taking an assist from Ashley Eason down the left side for her fifth goal of the season. Crandell’s goal is her fifth of the season and third game-winner.
“Ashley had a perfect pass to me and I just got off a good shot. The crowd was the best tonight,” Crandell said. “We owe everything to them.”
Culver notched her eighth goal of the season in the 80th minute on a header from five yards out to wrap up the scoring at 2-0 Auburn. Jac Schwarz assisted Culver on her goal off a corner kick.
“All week long, we’ve been working on the corners so I’ve had a lot of headers at practice,” Culver said. “I was just in the right place at the right time. When we found out that this regional would be at home, we knew we had a chance to redeem ourselves. Washington is very good and very deserving of the No. 15 national seed so this should be a great game.”
Clemson outshot Auburn 6-5, while Auburn was able to outshoot the visitors in the second half 4-3. Each team received two saves from their respective goalkeepers and also notched two corner kicks apiece.
The shutout was the seventh on the season for Auburn goalkeeper Megan Rivera, a first team All-SEC selection, and was the team’s eighth blanking of an opponent in 2004.
Auburn moves on to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive year where it will meet the No. 14-ranked Washington Huskies. The Tigers will be looking for their first ever NCAA second round victory as well as their first triumph over a Pac-10 school. Sunday’s match will mark the first meeting between the Tigers and Huskies. Kickoff is slated for 2 p.m. at the Auburn Soccer Complex. Tickets will be available at the gate.