Clemson, S.C. – After collecting a 1-1 draw and advancing 5-3 on penalty kicks in the second round versus Rutgers, the sixth-ranked and 14-seeded Clemson women’s soccer team (12-4-1, 5-3 ACC) gets set for its first Sweet Sixteen appearance since the 2016 season as they square off with third-ranked and 3-seeded UCLA (13-1-2, 9-1-1 Pac-12) on Wednesday, May 5. The match is set to kickoff at 6 p.m. from WakeMed Field #4 in Cary, N.C. with live coverage on GoHeels.com.
In the Tigers’ opening match of the NCAA Tournament after receiving a first-round bye, Maliah Morris found the back of the net in the 27th minute. The sophomore forward from Germantown, Md. was able to catch up to a ball sent downfield from her sister Makenna before walking it into the box and curling the left-footed shot to the far side of the net. It was Morris’s sixth goal of the season, placing her second amongst the team for total points with 16.
The production of Morris has just been one facet of the Clemson offense that has propelled the Tigers to success. This season, Clemson holds a 10-0-1 record when Morris, Megan Bornkamp, or Caroline Conti register a point in the match. The three have been the driving force of the Tigers’ attack while combining for 21 goals and eight assists for 53 of Clemson’s 93 points.
On the defensive end, the Tigers have held six opponents this season scoreless while 10 games the Clemson back line held the opposition to single-digit shots. Having only allowed 13 goals this season, Clemson’s defensive play has remained a steady force.
However, this season’s Sweet Sixteen is a familiar foe as the Tigers clashed with the Bruins in last season’s second round. UCLA took the match on their home field by a 5-0 scoreline, moving the all-time series record to 2-1-0 in the California squad’s favor. Clemson’s only win against UCLA came in the 2000 season opener for both squads where a goal from then-freshman Lindsay Browne was enough to seal the deal.
The winner of the UCLA/Clemson match will meet the winner of the Santa Clara/Arkansas match in the NCAA Quarterfinals. Quarterfinal action from Cary, N.C. is set for Sunday, May 9 at 5 p.m.