UVU women’s soccer comes close but falls to No. 19 Clemson
Early in the second half of Thursday evening’s titanic showdown with No. 19 Clemson at Clyde Field in Orem, the UVU women’s soccer team faced a gut-check moment.
After battling the visiting Tigers to a draw for the first 45 minutes, the Wolverines had surrendered the first score of the game less than three minutes into the second half.
How would UVU respond?
The answer came in the form of 30 minutes of impressive play by the Wolverines, who sent waves of attacks at the Clemson goal.
“We didn’t put our heads down,” UVU senior forward Faith Webber said. “We came back and got chances.”
Unfortunately for the Wolverines, Tiger senior keeper Halle Mackiewicz was on top of her game and made some stellar saves. That allowed Clemson to stay in front and get one final counterattack goal in the final minutes to secure the 2-0 win.
“I thought that was the best performance that we’ve had all year,” UVU head coach Chris Lemay said. “We were on the wrong side of the scoreboard obviously but Clemson’s a good team. I thought we threw punches with them for the better part of 90 minutes. I can’t be happy with the result, but I am happy with our performance. Our players left it all on the field tonight.”
Webber said she felt like the game was much more competitive than the final score indicated.
“The score doesn’t reflect how the game was,” Webber said. “We were right there with them but just didn’t get it done.”
The senior had four excellent chances to score, including a chip shot in the run of play, a header off a great cross, a solid angled shot and a late one-on-one opportunity, only to see Mackiewicz make great stops each time.
“I take that on myself,” Webber said. “I had a chance one-on-one with the keeper and that’s a shot that I normally score.”
Lemay said he felt like his team responded to adversity how he wanted it to.
“We played hard and didn’t get down,” Lemay said. “We created some good opportunities.”
He also credited the Wolverine defense for keeping UVU in the game until the final moments when they were pushing hard to get the equalizer.
“I felt like our back line played well,” Lemay said. “Sydney Bushman and Jenna Shepherd Grimillion were solid and Ashley Hughes played one of her best games. Elle Young is just a freshman but she did a great job.”
While the outcome wasn’t what the Wolverines wanted, Webber saw good things that her team can build on.
“This gives us confidence but we know we have a lot of things to work on,” Webber said.
Lemay just wants to see his team now focus on taking the next step.
“We showed we can play with a team like this but now we need to show we can beat them,” Lemay said. “We’ve got some more chances coming up in the next few weeks.”
UVU will look to get back on the winning track when it plays at Idaho State on Sunday at noon. The game will be streamed on ESPN+.