The Clemson women’s soccer team secured its biggest win of the year as they defeated No. 4 Virginia by a score of 1-0 in double overtime Thursday at Historic Riggs Field. Tigers’ forward Mariana Speckmaier scored the late game winner to seal the victory.
The Tigers had a tough time finding their footing in the first half as Virginia was all over the field, dominating possession. With control of possession in the half, the cavaliers outshot Clemson 7-1 but failed to find the net as the half ended 0-0.
At the start of the second half, the Tigers (7-3, 2-0 ACC) began to find their flow on the pitch. Clemson turned the tides on the offensive end and began gaining more possession time. With the possession came more shooting opportunities as the Tigers were able to put together seven shots in comparison to their one in the first.
“Well, the reality is we were dangerous on the break and had some dangerous opportunities to score on,” Clemson head coach Eddie Radwanski said. “I’m not really worried about shots, I’m worried about threats on the goal, so I was really pleased with what we did.
“There’s going to be moments where you’re defending, especially against good teams and it’s just a matter of managing those moments. All great teams in the world do it … Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich. They all have to defend at some stage.”
Although Clemson found a late groove, the game wouldn’t be decided in regulation as the score remained 0-0. This in part due to great goalkeeping by Clemson’s Sandy Maclver, who had four saves in regulation and Virginia’s Laurel Ivory with three.
After the match couldn’t be decided in one overtime, it was the Tigers who were able to find the golden goal halfway through the second overtime. Clemson’s leader on the pitch, Sam Staab, delivered a cross that found the head of Speckmaier. Composed inside the box, Speckmaier buried the header and claimed victory for the Tigers.
Clemson delivered Virginia (7-1, 0-1 ACC) their first loss of the season.
“It was a great win for our team” Radwanski said. “Obviously, we have a lot of respect for Virginia and Steve’s (Swanson) squad, you know highly ranked and they play good soccer. We were coming out today to compete and to try to win.
“The girls were tenacious with their effort and focus. Tactics went really well. We would have liked to score on the penalty but our girls showed great inner strength by not giving up and battling at it and got a well-deserved goal to win the game.”
The Clemson women’s soccer team will next be seen at Historic Riggs Field on Sunday. This match will be their second straight match against a ranked opponent as they take on No.5 North Carolina.
–Photo courtesy Clemson Athletic Communications