Aug. 9, 1999
If defense wins championships, Clemson should be in great shape in 1999.
The Tigers return all of their defenders and All-American Josh Campbell in goal, but the big question will be who will sell the tickets, or in another words, who will score the goals.
With the loss of 1998 Hermann Award Winner Wojtek Krakowiak, forwards, John Wilson and Scott Bower and midfielder Jeff Bilyk, the concern for Head Coach Trevor Adair is who will step up and lead the offensive charges. The departing players contributed 45 goals and 36 assists.
The Tigers were second in the nation in both scoring offense (2.88 goals per game) and team defense (.458). Clemson won also fourth in the nation for most shutouts per game as the Tigers had 14 shutouts in 24 games.
Clemson returns seven starters and 19 letterwinners from the squad that won the school’s first Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament Championship. The Tigers also advanced to the NCAA Tournament’s Final Eight for the second season in a row. Clemson also tied the school record for most wins in a single season with 22 and ranked number-one in the nation much of the season. The only two losses were to Duke at Durham, NC in the regular season, and a heart-breaking 2-1 loss to eventual National Champion Indiana in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament.
“We have a cohesive defensive unit returning among the seven starters coming back,” said Head Coach Trevor Adair. “The question will be how quickly we will mesh with our newcomers and how quickly they will obtain confidence. We will be tough to score on, the question is how quickly we can create on the offensive end.
“We are the defending Atlantic Coast Conference Champions and last year’s team is probably the best team I have been around in 15 years of coaching. Last year was a great year for our program and we plan to have just as successful, if not as successful a season in 1999.
“Our goal is to defend the ACC Championship and put us in position to win the National Championship. We lost some good players from last year’s team and our success will depend on how far players step up this season that did not contribute as much last year.”
Two veteran players that Adair will be looking for improvement on offense are Mark Lisi and Ross Goodacre. Lisi led the nation in assists last season with 17. Along with his 10 goals, Lisi finished the season with 37 points, the leading scorer among the returnees. Goodacre started 11 games for the Tigers last season and scored one goal and had six assists for eight points. Adair will also be looking at a talented group of newcomers to help fill the scoring void.
“If we can find the offense and players who are willing to step up their offensive contribution, we will be just as competitive or more than last season. There is no reason we can’t win the ACC or go to the Final Four and win the national championship. Those accomplishments are always going to be our goals. Again we will be a strong team defensively, but we will have to wait and see who will step forward and score the goals. We only allowed nine goals last year in the regular season, that is a heck of an accomplishment. Our defensive unit is back along with two midfielders.
“This team, with the right breaks, could easily be there at the end. We have good leadership and chemistry. Matt Elliott and Mike Potempa, who are strong leaders, will be our co-captains. These two players are excellent role models with good work ethics and are fierce competitors.”
Clemson is deep in the goalkeeping position with senior Josh Campbell and sophomore Marc Paisant.
Campbell returns after a phenomenal junior year. He was named first-team All-American by Soccer News and first-team All-ACC. Campbell started 24 games and gave up only 11 goals for a 0.49 GAA, second best in the nation. He also recorded 79 saves and had 12 solo shutouts.
Mark Paisant played in three games and shared in three shutouts with Campbell. He played 120 minutes and did not give up a goal.
“Josh continues to show improvement. He is getting stronger, faster and is very explosive. Josh is coming off a tremendous season and faced a tough schedule last year. Going into the fall he has the number one position and Marc Paisant is the backup. We are deep in this position. The gap has closed between Campbell and Paisant. Mark needs more game experience and it should be a nice race between the two in the preseason.
Patrick Fullerton (sophomore) and Michael Savage (sophomore) are both pushing for the third spot.”
Mike Potempa, Nathan Rawlins, Pablo Webster, and Alan Woods are all returning starters. As a unit, Clemson only gave up 11 goals for the 1998 campaign. This is the area where the coaches feel they have the most depth. In fact some of the defenders will be moved to the midfield because of their depth at this position.
Mike Potempa (junior) missed the spring for the second year in a row because of injury, but should be healthy in the fall.
“Mike Potempa and Alan Woods (senior) will anchor the middle of the back. Nathan Rawlins (senior) continues to make strides and is very steady and consistent. Rawlins can get up and down the field whether he is defending or attacking. He gives us a lot of attacking options since he is left footed and has great pace. He is very aggressive and is a good man-to-man marker.”
On the right side the Tigers have a few options that might help the attack. Pablo Webster (junior), Lars Fallang (senior), and Andy Heck (junior), will also be fighting for that position.
“We may even put Ross Goodacre (sophomore) in the back. He defends well and attacks out of the back very nicely. Christian Baldwin (senior) will also be pushing people for playing time. We are please with the progress Zach Gottlieb (freshman) made over his red-shirt year. Kevin Conaway (junior) showed a lot of progress and had a good spring.
“We have a lot of depth in the back. We are very strong in the back and in goal since they had such a great season together last year. We will use four backs and will attack a lot out of the back.”
Clemson returns two starters in this area with Jeremy Iwaskowiec (senior) and Mark Lisi (junior) returning. The Tigers lost stalwart Jeff Bilyk but Matt Elliott (senior) could be moved from the back to replace Bilyk in the center of the midfield. According to the coaching staff, Elliott had a great spring and learned the role well.
“Elliott began to show good organizational skills and had great moments last year and could really help us this fall. He is a hard working kid. Any challenge we give him he has met and then some.
“Iwaskowiec and Lisi are two attacking midfield players. We need more consistency from them and they need to take over and dominate games and establish themselves defensively. Lisi scored and had a lot of assists last year, and we expect more with another year of development.
Jeremy has fallen into the role of a classic link player,-a link from the back to the forward. I don’t know if we will get any more offensive production from him, but if he could step that up it would take the burden from Mark Lisi and free him up and let him do what he does best-come forward and be a threat to score outside the box.
“Russ Kiefer will be a fifth-year senior and had an excellent spring. Russ will play a vital role for us this year.”
Ross Goodacre could also play in the midfield. Newcomer Freddie Pineda is a defensive midfielder from Mauldin High School in Mauldin, SC and will add needed depth in the midfield.
The Tigers will have to rebuild in this position as ACC Player-of-the-Year Wojtek Krakowiak, Scott Bower and John Wilson have departed, three of Clemson’s top four scorers from last season. All three players are currently playing on the professional level.
Ross Goodacre and Bob Cavanagh return and could see considerable action at forward.
“Ross Goodacre finished the spring with a bang. He is playing with a lot of confidence and had three goals vs. the U17 team in the spring. He has showed a lot of promise. He has good speed and crossing ability. Goodacre is aggressive and very competitive. We’re expecting great things from him this fall.
“Bob Cavanagh has done a good job coming off the bench. I would like to see him become more aggressive. He needs to take more responsibility in scoring goals. He will be a key player because of his physical dimensions. His height, strength, and ability to hold the ball will be crucial to our team.
Ian Fuller made the most progress this past spring as far as stepping up and producing according to Adair. “He has a bright future and understands the game. Once he improves his confidence, he will be a player to be reckoned with. Ian links well with the midfield players, which really suits our style of play.
“Mike Hill is still adjusting to a position. He has great pace, but needs to learn to be a better defender and produce as far as scoring and assisting.
Other veterans include sophomores Lee Ibrahim and Ian Fuller.
“Lee Ibrahim was the leading goal scorer this past spring with five. Lee showed a lot of progress and will fight hard for playing time next year. He needs to improve his play with his back to the goal and be more consistent.
“Ian Fuller had a tremendous spring. He didn’t get to play much last year, but is a great player with his back to the goal. He started developing a good relationship with the attacking midfield players. He could emerge as a player who has the possibility of being in the lineup a lot.”
Newcomers include Fabio Tambosi, an all-regional player from Sao Paulo, Brazil, who was an exchange student at Marietta High School in Atlanta, GA. He was the Cobb County Player-of-the-Year in 1998. Tambosi had 22 goals and nine assists last season and can strike the ball from 35 yards away with either foot. The other newcomer is Chuck Purifoy.
“Tambosi is an explosive player and has great individual skills. He has a great touch and understands the game well. He is a player who could fit in our lineup and can play up front or as an attacking midfielder. He is an instrumental player who should work well into the chemistry of the team. He fits well into our style as he likes the ball on the ground and is an excellent passer. We think he can come in right away and put our team in the position of not dropping off in the talent level we had last year.
“Purifoy will add offensive depth. He is a transfer from Southern Wesleyan University. He has great speed and strength, but will need time to adjust to our style of play.”
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