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Clemson takes down Irish to advance to ACC Championship game

Toby Corriston
The Clemson women’s soccer team is headed for the ACC Championship game for the first time since 2002.

The No. 3-seeded Clemson women’s soccer team emerged victorious in the ACC semifinals with a 3-2 victory over No. 2-seeded Notre Dame on Thursday night, sending the Tigers to the ACC Championship game.

The Tigers remained in control of the score through all 90 minutes, though Notre Dame tied it up once in the second half. Thanks to a crucial foul against forward Maria Manousos in the 65th minute, graduate Caroline Conti was able to convert the subsequent penalty kick to solidify the Tigers’ third and final goal, which the Fighting Irish could not catch up to.

Clemson was first on the board, taking the lead midway through the half when midfielder Dani Davis curled a cross into the center of the box to be met by defender Megan Bornkamp. Bornkamp sent a header into the upper left corner of the net, just beyond the reach of the Notre Dame goalkeeper.

Clemson head coach Eddie Radwanski touched on Bornkamp’s ability to rise to the occasion.

“When an opportunity presented itself, Meg was ready for the moment to finish it,” he said. “When you’re in tournament time, that’s what separates you — what do you do when you have the moment, when it’s with you and when it’s against you.”

The rest of the first half saw the score remain at 1-0 but evened out early in the second when Notre Dame forward Maddie Mercado found the back of the net in the 50th minute.

The Tigers wasted no time to regain control, as just three minutes later, freshman forward Tatum Short took a shot from the top of the box. Her attempt initially headed towards the bottom left corner of the net but deflected off a Notre Dame defender and bounced untouched into the right edge of the goal.

Conti’s goal followed soon after, and Notre Dame managed to pull the score back to within one in the 74th minute. The Irish continued to mount a relentless attack in the latter stages of the match, with six shots in the final 15 minutes, but none of their attempts hit the mark.

Looking ahead to the ACC Championship matchup, Radwanski emphasized the importance of rest, recovery and enjoyment for the team. He commended their hard work and commitment to reach the championship game, giving credit to the players who had brought them this far.

With the win, Clemson is set to make its fourth trip to the ACC Championship game in program history.

The ACC Championship game will be hosted at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina, and is set to kick off at noon on Sunday, Nov. 5. The Tigers will face off against the No. 1-seeded Florida State Seminoles in a rematch of their September game which handed the Tigers one of their two losses in the regular season.

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Toby Corriston, Asst. Photo Editor
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