Durham, N.C. – The No. 9 Clemson women’s soccer team fell in a 4-1 bout to No. 11 Duke to move their season record to 8-4-1 and 2-4 within the conference. The match against the Blue Devils marks the end of a recent three-game road stretch for the Tigers as they head back home to face Syracuse on October 19 at 7 p.m.
Duke kicked off the scoring with a goal in the seventh minute by Marykate McGuire. A foul committed by the Tigers gave the Blue Devils a free kick opportunity within striking distance, where they were able to send a low ball into the back of the net. The Blue Devils added to their early lead in the 13th minute with a chip shot dropping over the head of Sandy MacIver. Both teams would head to the locker rooms with Duke holding the 2-0 lead at halftime.
“We certainly didn’t do ourselves any favor by falling behind 2-0 in the opening minutes of the game,” Head Coach Eddie Radwanski said. “These are just things you can’t do in our conference.”
The Tigers got into the scoring column with two of Clemson’s point leaders combing on a free kick chance from 25-yards out in the 53rd minute. Renee Guion curved a ball into the nearside of the net which was met by Mariana Speckmaier’s head, pulling the Duke lead back within one. The goal would give Speckmaier the outright team lead for points with 12 and moves Guion into a two-way tie for second-most alongside Maliah Morris with 10 points. It was Speckmaier’s first goal since knocking in the opening goal against Georgia on September 8.
“Our team had a good response to start the second half and scored a good goal to get ourselves back in the game,” Radwanski added.
However, the Blue Devils would quickly strike back after a fast break down the right side of the field allowed the Duke player to sneak a ball past MacIver who stepped out to challenge the play. Duke extended their lead to 4-1 off a shot by McGuire. Both McGuire and Pluck would tally two goals and an assist on the day.
With the 4-1 loss, it marks the first time since 2017 that the Tigers lost by more than one goal. The last time Clemson was defeated by more than two goals traces back to the 2015 ACC Semifinals against Virginia.
“We have to learn from these experiences and continue to get better,” Radwanski said. “There is another ACC game next week that we need to be prepared for.”
The October 19 match against Syracuse will be live on ACCNX.