CLEMSON, SC – One standout characteristic of the Clemson women’s soccer team from its opener against Appalachian State on Friday night is how much the Tigers looked like a team.
Outside of everyone wearing identical jerseys, the chemistry displayed by the team in its season-opening 1-0 victory over the Mountaineers signified a step in the right direction for the program.
The Tigers managed 25 shots against the Mountaineers and spent the entire night creating chances and attacking in a contest that showcased how far Head Coach Eddie Radwanski‘s team has come in the past year.
“If I’m making comments about not putting chances away, that’s a heck of a lot better than talking about not creating any chances,” Radwanski said. “I’m okay with that. We can fix some of these things and talk about different ideas about how we can put the ball into the net.”
It happened once for the Tigers in Friday’s match, as freshman Allie Kington knocked home the first goal of the regular season. There were a plethora of additional chances for them to cash in. Clemson managed 12 shots on goal, which forced its opponent to be constantly on its toes all night long.
“Eddie always says, ‘Never say die,’ senior midfielder Maddy Elder said. “I think we’ve adopted that mentality. We can’t let a ball in the box go by because it’s a perfect opportunity to put it into the back of the net.”
The 2012 Clemson team has now been identified from the outset as a collective unit. Establishing teamwork and putting together effective combinations has been a focal point of the offseason. Elder’s move to the midfield and the emergence of new faces at forward have ensured that the Tigers’ work in progress could still be profitable if all the pieces of the puzzle fit together.
“We’re not going to be finishing everything,” Kington said after scoring in her collegiate debut. “But, it’s good that we’re actually able to create those chances. As the season progresses, I think we’re going to be able to finish more of them.”
Both players and coaches mentioned the need for better consistency in the all-around execution. But as far as the Tigers have come since last season in terms of playing as one collective unit, the hope is that with the adjustments and the questions come more nights like Friday when Clemson has the look of a focused, quality team.
“If we can press together defensively in the middle of the field, we look really good and we put ourselves in good positions to win the ball and have an attacking opportunity,” Radwanski said. “We need to do that collectively. We’re just trying to link everybody together defensively and when we’re attacking.”
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