CLEMSON, S.C. – The Clemson women’s soccer team (14-4-1) tied its second round NCAA game 1-1 with the Ole Miss Rebels (14-5-3) but failed to advance in penalty kicks by a score of 5-4 Friday night at Historic Riggs Field.
The game was scoreless for nearly 75 minutes before Ole Miss’s Olivia Harrison gave the Rebels a 1-0 lead. Bethany Bunker’s cross was deflected by Tiger keeper Kailen Sheridan, but Harrison was on the right wing to pick up the rebound and score.
For the next 14 minutes, it appeared that the Rebels would claim the win in regulation, but with less than a minute remaining, junior Emily Byorth sent a cross into the box from the right side. A crowd of players went up for the header, but it was junior Paige Reckert who connected with the ball, sending it over the hands of Ole Miss keeper Marnie Merritt.
The two teams played two scoreless overtime periods and the game went to penalty kicks, the Tigers’ second NCAA match to do so in two years.
Ole Miss took the penalty kicks first and converted on four of their first five shots. Junior goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan saved the third shot after converting on a penalty kick of her own in Clemson’s second shot. The match then went to sudden death penalty kicks where Sheridan recorded another save on the sixth attempt by the Rebels followed by a save by Ole Miss. Ole Miss scored the seventh penalty kick and Clemson was unable to convert on their chance.
Clemson finished the season with a 14-4-2 record, the most wins in a season since 2002. The four losses for the Tigers are the fewest since 2000.
“It’s a hard way to go out, but we have no one to blame but ourselves,” said Head Coach Eddie Radwanski. “We created several opportunities, especially in the second half, and when you have those chances, you have to put them in. Credit to our players for fighting back after giving up the goal, and scoring the equalizer in the last minute. That showed a lot of character.
“When you go to a shootout, anything can happen. Unfortunately, again this year, it didn’t work in our favor. We’re deeply disappointed, because we felt we were capable of moving on, but certainly credit goes to Ole Miss. They hung in there, battled, defended well and forced the game into a shootout on the road.
“This team still has a lot to be proud of this year,” Radwanski noted. “We won 14 games, the most since 2002, finished second in the ACC regular season, recorded the program’s first NCAA win since 2007…I’m still proud.”
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