Seniors Brandon Parrish and Ousmane Sylla each scored, and No. 9 Clemson held off No. 2 Notre Dame 2-1 on Monday night to claim the program’s second national soccer championship in three seasons.
Clemson (15-3-5), making its sixth title game appearance and second in three campaigns, won titles in 1984, 1987 and 2021. The Tigers also knocked off Notre Dame in the 2021 semifinals.
Notre Dame (13-3-6) was seeking its second championship after winning the College Cup in 2013.
Parrish scored his eighth goal of the season for a 1-0 lead in the 27th minute, settling a short clearance and smashing a deflected shot from distance past a diving Bryan Dowd.
Clemson improved to 11-0-1 when leading at the half this season.
Parrish also cleared the ball off the goal line in the 58th minute to maintain the 1-0 advantage.
Sylla, named most outstanding offensive player for the tournament, scored his 13th goal of the campaign (to go with 10 assists) in the 70th minute for a 2-0 lead. Sylla played it out wide near the midfield circle to Alex Meinhard, who dribbled in space to get into the box for a cross to the penalty spot for a wide-open finish.
Joseph Andema nearly recorded his fifth straight shutout in the NCAA tournament, but Tyler Trimnal was whistled for a handball in the 89th minute, and Paddy Burns converted the penalty kick.
Burns also had a good scoring chance for the Fighting Irish in the 56th minute when he was left wide open at the back post, but his off-balance shot went off the crossbar.
Andema made three saves for Clemson, which allowed 18 goals in its first 18 games of the season and just one in the last five. The Tigers went 449 minutes without giving up a goal in the tournament — nearly becoming the sixth champion to not allow a postseason goal.
The Tigers and Irish played earlier this season, with Notre Dame winning 3-2 on Sept. 9. Parrish also scored in that game, tying it at 2-all, before Notre Dame’s Daniel Russo netted the winner off a free kick in the 50th minute.
Last week, Florida State beat Stanford 5-1 to win the women’s national final, with the victory sealing an undefeated season for the Seminoles.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this story.