Hurricanes fight to the very end in the ACC Championship, lose to Clemson Tigers in penalty kicks 5-4

sports soccer

The Miami Hurricanes soccer team came up just short at No. 14 Clemson in heartbreaking fashion on Sunday afternoon.

After battling to a 1-1 stalemate through 110 minutes of play, the seventh-seeded Hurricanes (10-7-1, 5-5-0 ACC) fell 5-4 in penalty kicks against the second-seeded Clemson Tigers (13-3-3, 7-1-2 ACC).

The Tigers struck early in the 10th minute when midfielder/forward Abby Jones crossed the ball on the ground to midfielder/forward Catrina Atanda, who beat redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Phallon Tullis-Joyce for her conference leading 12th goal of the season.

Miami answered back in the 26th minute when the Canes captains linked up for an equalizing goal. Redshirt senior defender Shannon McCarthy sent a free kick into the box that found senior midfielder/defender Gianna Dal Pozzo who volleyed it over the Clemson keeper.

The goal was Dal Pozzo’s first of the season and second of her career. It was McCarthy’s fifth assist of the year, moving her into second place on the team trailing only freshman forward Kristina Fisher, who has six.

The Hurricanes and Tigers went into halftime knotted up at one apiece, with both teams registering two shots on goal.

Miami came inches away from taking the lead when senior forward Gracie Lachowecki fired a shot with her left foot that went just wide of the cage in the 51st minute.

The Canes came close to taking the upper hand once again when McCarthy played a ball into the box and Dal Pozzo headed the ball that just missed the target with only 13 seconds remaining in regulation.

The teams went into overtime after battling through 90 minutes of play.

In the first session of extra time, the Hurricanes had its best opportunity to clinch a victory when Lachowecki got past the Tigers defense and ripped a shot that went just over the bar in the 100th minute.

The Canes and Tigers finished up the second frame of overtime all tied up, so after 110 minutes of action, the teams headed to a penalty kick shootout.

Both teams sent confident scorers to the dot, and the players went back and forth making their shots until Fisher missed the third attempt for Miami. Clemson would make all five of its shots, go onto win the shootout 5-4 and advance to the semifinals of the ACC Championship.

The Hurricanes, who were picked to finish last in the ACC, had an impressive showing throughout the season, featuring two upset wins over top-25 opponents. The team will look to receive an at-large bid to play in the NCAA Tournament. The selection show is set for 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 7.