Georgia soccer came into its game against Clemson having scored 19 goals in the first four games of the season. The Bulldogs continued their strong attack to defeat a top-25 opponent for the first time since 2015.
Georgia defeated No. 15 Clemson 3-1 on Thursday night in front of a packed crowd at Turner Soccer Complex. The Bulldogs earned their first victory over Clemson since 2009.
“Everyone’s pumped,” said head coach Billy Lesesne. “There was an obvious tension during the game from wanting to have a really good performance against a quality opponent. … Everybody shared this victory. We were really excited to see the team at the end of 90 minutes celebrate together.”
Georgia moved to 4-1 on the season with the win and earned its third victory over the Tigers in program history. Meanwhile, Clemson moved to 2-2 on the season, losing its second-straight game.
It was a career night for graduate forward Mollie Belisle, who found the back of the net twice and the eventual winner over the Tigers. Belisle became the joint-top scorer in the NCAA with tonight’s brace, reaching seven total goals on the season.
“I don’t have words,” Belisle said. “I owe it to my team. Without them, I would not be scoring goals. Without their support, without everything that they do for me. … I’m just so proud. It’s definitely one of the top-five best Georgia experiences ever.”
Clemson opened the scoring in the fifth minute after Makenna Morris tapped home her sister Maliah Morris’ cross from the end line. Clemson looked destined to take control of the match, but Belisle and the in-form Georgia attack took over.
Georgia midfielder Abby Boyan released Mallie Mackenzie free down the right side, and the winger whipped in an inch-perfect cross to Belisle, who headed home the equalizer in the 15th minute.
“We were told that the wings were gonna be open,” Mackenzie said. “So we were going to have to do our best to get it in. And then once you’re in that zone, you kind of just know that Mollie’s always there.”
Four minutes later, Belisle had her second. This time the delivery came from striker partner Dani Murguia. Murguia crossed the ball, again from the right side of the field, and Belisle adjusted for a perfectly placed volly into the top of the net. Murguia’s assist gives her an SEC-high five assists on the season.
The Bulldogs added a third just before halftime after Danielle Lewin and Boyan combined through the Tiger defense in the 39th minute to make the score 3-1. Lewin drove into the box, slipped the ball into Boyan, who cut it back to the freshman forward for an easy tap-in finish for the last goal of the game. That marks Lewin’s fifth goal of the season.
Lesesne alluded to the importance of winning the wide battles ahead of tonight’s matchup, and the Bulldogs delivered. All three of Georgia’s goals came from crosses on the right side.
“We’ve been doing so well at home keeping the ball and attacking wide from outside in,” Lesesne said. “We created some good chances and were very aggressive in the box early on. Clemson has some big central defenders and we challenged with balls in the box and created some good opportunities and finished a few off.”
The Bulldogs return to action on Sunday as they host Wofford at 6:00 p.m.