Pi­o­neers beat Clem­son, move on to semi­fi­nals

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By The Den­ver Post

Kortne Ford scored a late goal Fri­day night to send the Den­ver Pi­o­neers past the Clem­son Tigers 1-0 at His­toric Riggs Field in Clem­son, S.C., to ad­vance to the Col­lege Cup semi­fi­nals.

The Pi­o­neers, in ad­vanc­ing to the fi­nal four of the NCAA men’s soc­cer tour­na­ment, re­mained un­beaten on the sea­son at 20-0-3. It was the Pi­o­neers’ 14th shutout in 23 matches this sea­son, in­clud­ing 13 of its last 18 games.

“For us to be able to come to Clem­son with as many peo­ple root­ing against us and for my guys to con­tinue to stand up, their re­siliency, their fight and their to­geth­er­ness makes them a spe­cial group,” Den­ver coach Jamie Franks said af­ter the game.

Den­ver was pinned back for much of the sec­ond half, but pushed men for­ward in the 89th minute on a throw in deep in the Clem­son half. As the game seemed des­tined for over­time, Ford, a ju­nior cen­ter back from Gree­ley, headed home a ball served in to the near post by ju­nior mid­fielder Alex Un­der­wood for the game-win­ner.

“It was kind of sur­real. Only one minute to go af­ter the goal went in,” Ford said. “When you get that goal with one minute to go, it’s like, ‘all right, let’s break down, we’ve gotta de­fend for one more minute.’ ”

The goal was the fifth of the sea­son for Ford, who spent time in the Colorado Rapids youth academy.

Den­ver will face the win­ner of No. 2 Wake For­est and Vir­ginia Tech in the Col­lege Cup semi­fi­nals on Dec. 9 in Hous­ton.

“We’re go­ing to Hous­ton to get a tro­phy,” Franks said.

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