College Cup: Stanford and Clemson advance to the final via penalty kick shootout

Clemson Tigers celebrate 2015 College Cup berth - December 11, 2015

It’ll be Clemson (17-2-4) vs. USMNT forward Jordan Morris and his Stanford Cardinal (17-2-3) in the final of the 2015 College Cup in Kansas City on Sunday (2 pm ET, ESPNU) after a semifinal doubleheader saw both matches end in a penalty kick shootout at Sporting Park on Friday.

Clemson got the night started by overcoming ACC rivals Syracuse 4-1 on penalty kicks after 110 minutes of scoreless soccer. In the second match, Stanford and Akron also went scoreless for 110 minutes before a 10-round penalty kick shootout saw Stanford emerge 8-7.

Goalkeepers were the heroes in both of Friday night’s shootouts. Clemson’s redshirt junior goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell made two penalty saves against Syracuse, while Stanford netminder Andrew Epstein also stopped two attempts in the shootout, including Akron’s 10th and final kick.

Tarbell and Epstein were already decisive before their respective matches went to penalties. Stanford’s Epstein made a critical one-on-one stop on Akron’s Richie Laryea in the 97th minute, while Tarbell made eight saves during the Clemson-Syracuse match before his shootout heroics.

Clemson forward TJ Casner, who earlier on Friday was named to the initial list of invitees for the 2016 adidas MLS Player Combine in January, sealed the victory for his team with his match-winning PK conversion.

Stanford are in their third final (1998, 2002), but they are still in search of their first men’s soccer championship, while Clemson are aiming for their third title in three trips to the College Cup final (1984, 1987).

College Cup: Stanford and Clemson advance to the final via penalty kick shootout -