The season is over for the University of Georgia soccer team after a 5-3 penalty kicks loss to Clemson in the third round of the NCAA tournament. Sunday’s loss came at Clemson.
From Jake Stanley, UGA Sports Communications…
The University of Georgia soccer team’s historic 2023 season ended Sunday afternoon with a 1-1 tie at top-seeded Clemson in the third round of the 2023 NCAA DI Women’s Soccer Championship, with the Tigers advancing, 5-3, on penalty kicks before 1,471 spectators at Historic Riggs Field.
After graduate midfielder Croix Bethune scored in the 84th minute to put Georgia (13-4-6, 4-3-3 SEC) ahead, Clemson (17-3-4, 7-2-1 ACC) responded with an equalizer in the 88th minute to force extra time. Despite a pair of close calls in the extra period, the match advanced to penalties, the sixth postseason shootout in program history. Both teams converted their attempts before Bethune missed on the Bulldogs’ fourth shot, with the Tigers converting the winning kick soon after.
Bethune led Georgia with three shots, including two on frame, with the team tallying 10 total shots as opposed to Clemson’s 13. Sophomore goalkeeper Jordan Brown tallied six saves on the afternoon.
For the second-consecutive match, Georgia played a quiet first half, tallying only four shots with none on frame. Senior forward Tori Penn found a few chances, but the lack of offense from both teams made it a scoreless tie at the half.
The pace increased in the second half, including a terrific opportunity for Bethune that nearly gave the Bulldogs the lead in the 58th minute. Freshman midfielder Devon Winters also had a great look off a service from graduate midfielder Mallie McKenzie, but her shot sailed wide left. Clemson did tally the first two shots on goal of the afternoon, resulting in saves for Brown.
Eventually, the scoring came for both teams. In the 84th minute, senior defender Madison Haugen sent a corner kick into sophomore defender Cate Hardin, who hit Bethune for a rocket that deflected into the net for the go-ahead goal. The Bulldogs worked to hold on for the final six minutes, but the Tigers found the equalizer as Sydney Minarik found Megan Bornkamp behind the defense at the 87:44 mark. Clemson nearly scored a winner in the final 10 seconds, but Brown was able to save it and send the sides to overtime.
In the first overtime period, Clemson keeper Halle Mackiewicz came out far from her line, almost allowing graduate forward Hannah White to score, but she recovered to make the save. Later, in the 105th minute, White found a wide-open Bethune, but her touch was caught by Mackiewicz to preserve the tie.
In penalties, redshirt freshman goalkeeper Kenzie Solomon took over in goal for the Bulldogs and nearly saved the fourth Clemson attempt. Redshirt senior midfielder Nicole Vernis, redshirt freshman midfielder Summer Denigan, and Hardin each converted their penalty attempts before Bethune’s miss and the clinching Clemson kick in round five.
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