Aug. 9, 1999
Many challenges await the 1999 Lady Tigers. Perhaps the biggest challenge is replacing four seniors that proved to be some of the best players offensively and defensively in Clemson history. The other question that is of concern is how long will it take the freshman class to mature and make an impact on this year’s squad.
“Our goal every year is to show improvement and to be better than we were in the past,” said Co-Head Coach Tracey Leone.
“Last year we made it to the final 16 and two years ago we made it to the final eight. Our ambition now is to get beyond that point to the Final Four. It is going to be a great challenge for us, because we lost a great senior class, but this team is certainly capable.
“We are going to be a different team with a different style since there will be so many new faces. However, one advantage is our depth. We had a great recruiting year and the players coming in will make an impact right away. This past spring, we played different styles and had great success despite being depleted of players because of injuries.”
“We are very deep in the front seven and we are going to have a great deal of flexibility in our lineup. There are going to be several combinations of players that could work and a lot of things we can do. It is our challenge to keep a close eye on our players and find out who clicks the best together. “
Clemson returns seven starters and 17 letterwinners from a squad that finished with a school record 16 wins. The Lady Tigers also finished tied for second in the ACC with a 5-2 record in league play. Clemson finished 11th nationally in both the final Soccer America and NSCAA polls.
“The strength of our team is going to be in the unit–how well we play together. Ray (Leone, Co-Head Coach) and I have to find the right combinations. Our leadership and team chemistry will also be vital to our success on the field. It is going to be very competitive when we start practice in the fall, and that’s a positive thing.”
In the area of goalkeeping, sophomore Katie Carson returns after starting 22 games as a freshman. She played 1,569 minutes and had a 1.26 GAA. She also completed her fine year with 54 saves and shared in seven shutouts.
Sophomore Julie Podhrasky also returns. She played in 12 games and had a 1.08 GAA. She had 13 saves and shared in those seven Clemson shutouts.
“We have two great goalkeepers returning in Julie and Katie. They made a lot of progress last year and made significant improvement this past spring.
“They are going to have to come up big for us. Our defense will be strong, but we want them to cover more ground and carry more responsibility. If they do this, we are going to be very difficult to score on. They are both capable, more mature, and comfortable playing at the collegiate level. They must dominate for us.”
In the back, Clemson will have less depth this year after losing Diana Akin and Lindsay Massengale to graduation. However, the starters Clemson has returning, twin sisters Julie and Nancy Augustyniak (juniors) are two of the best defenders in the ACC and started all 23 matches last season.
“We will definitely anchor our defense around Nancy and Julie. Nancy will probably play central defender. She played in the middle last fall when Massengale was injured and did a terrific job for us. She is an exceptional defender and one of our most complete players. Nancy is working on her leadership along with her communication, which will be critical for her to offer to the team because Lindsay Massengale is not there anymore to assume that role.
“Julie plays on the left side and she too is an exceptional player. The whole team changed when we moved the twins from flank midfielder to the back last season. You know you are going to get good balls out of the back with Julie. She’s clearly one of our most talented players and we tried different styles built around Julie this spring because she’s such an asset.
Louisa Boyle played very well against North Carolina in the ACC Championship game, and had a very solid spring. She will be competing to start or play in the back along with freshman Cindy Mullinix. Although Cindy has played up top for several years, we feel she could be a tremendous back at the collegiate level. Cindy is very fast and strong and has a very dangerous, long, throw-in. She could also see time at wing midfielder.
“Leigh Clark played center back along side Nancy Augustyniak all spring. She is incredibly skillful so we’re able to pass the ball out of the back well with her there. She has really improved her game throughout the spring and communicates very well.”
Clemson lost All-American Sara Burkett to graduation but have starters Alison Burpee (senior) and Lea Shreve (junior) returning to the midfield.
“In the midfield, this Spring, we had a lot of different looks and tried various combinations. It is wide open as to what we’re going to do. Lea Shreve has been a mainstay for us as a central midfielder. She’s disciplined and is a great playmaker who we are going to be counting a great deal to run the show.
We played Alison Burpee along side Lea Shreve in the center of the midfield quite a bit this spring. We really liked her there. She has an incredible desire to win and no one matches her intensity and work rate. Athletically, she causes a lot of problems for our opponents in the middle. She can cover a lot of ground because her fitness level is unbelievable. In addition, we’re excited to have Tiffany Lambert back with us after having to take the spring off. Her energy level is contagious and her perseverance and positivity are phenomenal. We possess the ball very well through her.”
Another veteran is Tricia Williams. She is one of our best players closing space defensively. She has good presence in the air, is very fit, and adds another dimension to our team because of her extraordinary quickness.”
Jeanna Thompson is another returnee competing to play in the midfield. She’s a very hard tackler and has good skills.”
Newcomers include Erica LaShomb, Mary Ward Younger, Deliah Arrington, Audria Lyons, and Rachel Gallegos.
Erica LaShomb played at Greeneville High School in Greeneville, TN. She scored 120 goals in high school, and that mark is second all-time in the state of Tennessee. She also finished her career with 54 assists which is first in Tennessee High School history. She has an excellent work rante and is a goal scorer.
Mary Ward Younger is from Raleigh, NC. Younger is an all-conference, all-region player. She is a five-time N.C. State ODP player and her high school team, Broughton High School, was ranked nationally for three years. She is very skillful and has a lethal shot.
Deliah Arrington, a forward, played at Waccamaw High School in Pawley’s Island, SC. She is a four-time state champion in track and is a regional pool ODP player. Her club team is Trident United. Her father, Vandell played on the 1981 National Championship Football Team at Clemson in 1981.
Audria Lyons played at South Grand Prairie High School in Grand Prairie, TX. She can play up top or as a flank midfielder and was a member of the South Region ODP team. Rachel Gallegos is from California and is a naturally left-sided player with great skill.
“We need for all of our freshmen to come in fit and ready to make an impact immediately. They’re an extremely talented group and we’re going to need to count on them from day one.”
The Lady Tigers return seniors Beth Keller, Jenny Crawford, and Libby King at Forward. Beth Keller, an All-ACC performer, is Clemson’s leading scorer returning with 14 goals and five assists for 33 points. Jenny Crawford had seven goals and seven assists last season for 21 points. King had four goals and three assists for 11 points.
“Keller had a great year in 1998 and is an incredible goal scorer. She is virtually unstoppable. She certainly can be dominating at central midfielder, but up top, she is an absolute force. We think she will be the best front runner in the nation in college this season. Jenny Crawford is a prolific goal scorer, and we need her to come up big for us this fall. She is a very smart, tactical player who wants to win more than anything.”
“Libby King is one of our best leaders and her desire and spirit uplifts our team. She is recovering from ACL surgery so we’re still waiting to see if she will play or redshirt this fall. Either way, she is the heart and soul of our team.”
Other returning attackers include Audra Sherman (redshirt freshman), Katie Reid (sophomore), and Tatum Clowney (sophomore). Sherman missed last season, and is coming back from an ACL injury.
Kati Reid is one of the most improved players in the spring according to the coaching staff.
“Audra is going to be one to watch. She was our fastest player before her surgery, and we are very confident she’ll get her speed back with time. She is physically dominating. Tatum was a great boost for us last fall. We brought her off the bench and she provided a spark for us last year. She has been hitting the weight room hard this spring and summer to improve her game. Tatum is an extremely talented player and we will rely on her quite a bit this season.”
Clowney finished the season with four goals and six assists for 14 points. Newcomers Heather Beem, Deliah Arrington, and Audra Lyons will compete play up top as freshmen.
“Arrington is a track star. She’ll be one of the best athletes on our team. Lyons played for the region team and is also a great athlete. She is extremely tough, both physically and mentally and is going to be quite a college player.
“Heather Beem is from Vancouver, WA. She has played in the Invite-Portland League for two years as a youngster. She’s very tactical, can run all day, and can score goals.”
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