Clemson women’s soccer pulls big upset

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Cary, N.C. — Hensley Hancuff saved UCLA’s sixth penalty kick attempt and the 14-seed Tigers (12-4-2) advanced to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2006 after defeating 3-seed UCLA (13-1-3) 6-5 on penalty kicks, following a 1-1 draw.

Wednesday’s game marks the second time in program history for Clemson to have back-to-back NCAA Tournament games decided by PKs, the other being 2006 when the Tigers advanced to their most recent quarterfinals.

The teams entered sudden death PKs after both converting their first five attempts. Samantha Meredith, who scored Clemson’s only goal in regulation, buried Clemson’s sixth attempt, before Hancuff smothered an attempt from Madelyn Desiano to end it.

Both teams were held scoreless in the first half, even though UCLA out-shot the Tigers 12-7, with Maliah Morris taking four of Clemson’s shots. Hancuff made three first-half saves to keep the Bruins off the board.

Following a corner kick in the 50th minute, Clemson got off three-straight shots before Meredith buried a ball from Morris to give the Tigers the 1-0 lead, moving the Tigers to 10-0-2 in games where either Bornkamp, Morris, or Conti register a point. UCLA pressured the Tigers following the goal, getting off 10 shots in the next 30:00 of game time, but Hancuff made saves on four of them to keep the shutout intact. The Bruins managed to even the score in the 87th minute, to send the game to a first overtime period.

The Tigers were the only team to get off a shot in the first 10-minute overtime after UCLA was given a yellow card. In the second overtime, neither team could get a good look at the game-winner, sending the match to deciding penalty kicks.

The Tigers finished with 14 shots, four on goal, while Hancuff finished with nine saves, one shy of a career-high.

Clemson will play its quarterfinal match on Sunday, May 9, at 5:00 p.m. and will take on the winner of Arkansas/Santa Clara, to be played later Wednesday evening.

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