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Captain’s Corner No. 5

Oct. 12, 2000

Senior midfielder Mike Potempa has agreed to give fans an inside look at Clemson Men’s Soccer with his journal, Captain’s Corner. Be sure to check out ClemsonTigers.com to see what the Hunt Valley, Md. native has to say about the Tiger soccer team throughout the year.

The Georgia State Game

The game against Georgia State was a solid win for us. Aside from the goal that we let up right before half time, we played some of the best soccer I’ve seen this year. In my mind, it was a sign of how far we have come. The reason I say this is because it is evident that there is significant contrast between how we play now and how we were playing at the beginning of the season.

When we first started, you could see that some of the guys were confused. Our runs were mistimed, we weren’t as effective as we could have been, and basically, we just weren’t all on the same page. Tonight against Georgia State, we were able to build out of the back, play simple through the midfield, and get forward through dynamic runs from our outside backs. We were in total control of the entire game. We won nearly every single 50/50 ball, we won all of the second balls, and things were flowing naturally. You can definitely see constant improvement as we go from game to game.

It was also encouraging to see the level of intensity that we are coming out with each and every game. There’s no dispute that our game tonight was a little different than our game this weekend against USC. There weren’t 5000 fans in the stands, Georgia State wasn’t ranked, and we were beat up. That being said, we actually came out and played with the same amount of intensity that we showed against the Gamecocks, if not more.

We jumped on them early with a great goal from Keneth, who was assisted on a cross by Ricki. Minutes later, Mark hit a great free kick from 20 yards out and we were up 2-0.

Like I said earlier, they were getting frustrated, we were in total control of the game and they really didn’t get any quality chances. However, the goal that we let up right before half time changed the game. Not in the sense that we lost control, but it gave them hope going into the second half that they still had a chance to get back into the game.

People always say that a 2-0 lead is the worst lead you can have, well they’re right. I think that if we would have prevented that goal their spirit would have been broken and we would have won the game by five or six goals. Instead, we found ourselves in a game. As a result, we had to defend their surges in the opening moments of the second half, we couldn’t get some of our reserves on like we had hoped, and we had to fight for 45 minutes that could have been easily prevented with one more second of concentration in the first half.

However, they really didn’t get any close chances, we were playing well, and it would only be a matter of time before we got the goal that would bury them. We hit the bar twice on two great opportunities from Fabio and Mark, and then they started to foul. However, we maintained our composure, let the ball do the work, and finally our hard work had paid off as Fabio slotted a great goal to put them away.

We have a saying within the team that goes, “99% concentration equals 100% failure.” Tonight, we came away from the game realizing how true that statement can be. However, we played extremely well and we all feel good about where we are as a team.

Sunday is going to be a complete battle against Virginia, we’ve never lost to them as seniors…hopefully, we’ll be able to keep that streak alive. See ya Sunday!

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