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Clemson lacrosse stays undefeated with resounding win over Gardner-Webb

Aralynn Minnick // Asst. Photo Editor

Clemson attacker Gianna New (2) scored a game-high six goals against Gardner Webb at Historic Riggs Field on Feb. 22, 2023.

The Clemson Tigers have won their fourth straight game of the season, defeating Gardner-Webb 22-2 in a commanding victory at Historic Riggs Field on Wednesday. 

Some familiar faces dominated the field throughout the game, including Oregon transfer Hanna Hilcoff, who continued her impressive senior campaign and finished with four goals, two forced turnovers and five draw controls. 

Hilcoff displayed rare offensive aggression, creating allies through triple-coverage where many would double back. In one such instance, her shot deflected off the goalie’s stick straight into the net of Marina Miller, who subsequently scored the Tigers’ fifth goal of the game. With her performance, Hilcoff is now near the top of the NCAA for goals per game with 5.0. 

Hilcoff and junior midfielder Ella Little have become a killer draw-control duo, tallying 15 combined wins on Wednesday. Little, a member of the North Carolina 2022 National Championship team, demonstrated her midfield confidence with a number of one-handed scoops and impressive ambidexterity. She also added two points for the Tigers. 

Continuing on the offensive side of the ball, graduate attacker Gianna New proved the importance of stealth and speed as she snuck an impressive six balls to the back of the net, often allowing her defenders to stay with her before turning her burners on inside the eight for an uncontested shot.

When the Tigers weren’t scoring, Gardner-Webb felt the impact of the team’s defense and then some. Compared to Clemson’s 37 shots, the Bulldogs had just seven shot attempts for two goals. The Tigers maintained a relatively consistent scheme, mostly circling the interior of the 8-meter and holding the Bulldogs around the 12-meter. This stability has played an essential role in Clemson’s scoring defense, which is currently the second-best scoring defense in the NCAA, with just 1.75 goals allowed per game. 

The Bulldogs’ first score marked the first time a team has scored in the first quarter against the Tigers in program history. 

Clemson will be back on the road this weekend, traveling to South Bend, Indiana, to take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (2-1) for the team’s first-ever ACC game. Tune in to watch on ACC Network at 1 p.m. EST.

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Grace O'Donnell, Sports Editor
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