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Paws up, Paws down: Clemson vs. Duke

Ashleigh Snyder // Contributor

The Clemson women’s lacrosse team runs off the field in celebration after the final whistle in a 11-10 upset over No. 13 Duke. 

Clemson lacrosse had a historic weekend with the program’s first ranked win over No. 13 Duke last Saturday. Here are a few key takeaways from the Tigers’ performance:

Paws up: Defensive prowess leads to stingy goalie performance

Clemson goalie Emily Lamparter kept the defense alive with impressive saves throughout the game. Duke took 27 total shots and had 21 shots on goal by the end of the game. Lamparter finished with 11 saves after playing the full 60 minutes.

“The last one I had in the fourth quarter, I was just trying to do anything I had to to get the momentum on our side, and obviously, that fueled the offensive confidence,” Lamparter said. “So, that was just a really great opportunity for me.”

Lamparter could not have kept the cage on lock if not for the Tigers’ defense, which kept Duke’s key players at bay. The Blue Devil’s lead scorer, Katie DeSimone, who finished her 2022 season with 60 goals, only scored two goals the entire game.

When it comes to pregame mindset, Lamparter does not get shaken easily. 

“Obviously, it’s Duke, so they’re a super competitive team,” Lamparter added. “As a goalie, my mindset is always just I need to do what I can to make a difference for the team. Obviously, goals are going to go in, but just watching film and looking at their tendencies and where they’re gonna go.”

“There were a few that I went maybe slightly early, and I was able to get that save because I anticipated it,” she concluded. 

Paws down: Shots on goal vs. shots made 

A prevalent issue throughout the game was taking accurate shots. At the end of the first quarter, the game was tied up at 3-3, and not long after, play escalated in favor of Duke.

At the half, Clemson had taken 12 shots, five of which made it into the cage. By the end of the game, Clemson took 25 total shots, 18 shots on goal and scored 11. 

Paws up: Second-half momentum 

At the half, the Tigers were down 7-5 and struggled to play a consistent game on both sides of the ball. The team came out of the locker room more determined than ever and evened up the score at 8-8. 

The fourth quarter was where the field became a game of tug-of-war as the teams traded turns with the lead. With 2:31 to go on the clock, freshman attacker Sofia Chepenik sealed the deal with the game-winning goal and put the Tigers at their final 11-10 score.

“We came out of the first half, and I was like, ‘I know we’re not playing well, and it’s 7-5 right now,'” head coach Allison Kwolek said. “We’re in this game, and I think we did a really nice job not letting them get on any runs and really staying in the battle. That was so important.”

Paws down: Draw controls 

One of the main setbacks for Clemson was taking care of business at the beginning of each series. Usually, the Tigers excel at maintaining possession from draw controls, but Saturday was an exception.

Duke attacker Maddie Jenner is considered the best draw-taker in the nation, and the graduate currently holds the NCAA record for draw controls with an impressive 673 career wins to date. She is responsible for six of Duke’s 16 total faceoff wins, compared to a team total of nine for Clemson. 

Coming into the game, Kwolek was aware of Jenner’s ability.

“I think with a team like Duke, with the best draw-taker in the country, I knew we weren’t going to come up with possessions right away,” she said. 

The Blue Devils capitalized off draw controls early and often, making it difficult for the Tigers to earn offensive possession without turnovers.

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Anne Marie Lessig
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