CLEMSON, SC – Clemson sophomore forward Liska Dobberstein isn’t simply scoring goals for the Tiger women’s soccer team. She is leading the charge.
The Charlotte native has picked up where she left off last season, when she was second on the team in scoring with six goals. Thanks to a herculean effort in Sunday’s 2-0 victory over North Florida, Dobberstein is already one-third of the way to her 2011 total in only two games.
As the only scorer for the Tigers against the Ospreys, Dobberstein has continued her solid play in the team’s two preseason matches. She scored a combined five goals during the exhibition season, a time in which she says the team matured a great deal.
“We’ve had a really confident preseason,” she said. “We’ve all been working really hard the past two weeks together. School hasn’t started yet, so it’s just been soccer the past two weeks. We’ve been able to come back together and get that chemistry back.”
Dobberstein scored one goal in each half against the Ospreys, and both came on headers after long, arching passes into the box from the outside. The goals were indicative of the emphasis Head Coach Eddie Radwanski has placed on improving chemistry in the offseason.
“There were a lot of chances we created,” Radwanski said. “I’d be more concerned if we weren’t doing that at this moment.”
Dobberstein has been the team’s offensive catalyst, but she has been far from the only performer. In two games so far this season, the Tigers have attempted 40 shots, 18 of which have been shots on goal. Radwanski is pleased to see his team putting itself into prime position to score, but he says he would like to see more instances – like Dobberstein’s two-goal Sunday – when his unit makes the most of those chances.
“Actually, I thought she should have had a few more,” he said on Dobberstein’s performance. “There were a couple that I thought were quality chances. Liska really should have had a hat trick today.”
Dobberstein says greater efficiency will come naturally once roles are more defined. At such an early point in the season, she says the players at the forefront of the Clemson attack are functioning as interchangeable parts for much of the game.
“All the forwards are running around and switching positions, making runs in crazy areas,” she said. “It’s something we’ve been working on – making runs to allow each individual forward to get into the box.”
The presence of quality players attempting to function as a unit has made for an uptick in eagerness, which was the reason behind seven offside calls in Sunday’s match. Radwanski raves about his team’s youthful exuberance, so he is slow to criticize effort mistakes, but he also hopes that eventually, there will be a more finished product on the field.
“There are several that we need to be more soccer savvy about, especially in wide positions,” Radwanski said. “That’s something we’ll sit down with film and show the kids and make a learning point. It’s easily correctable.”
One thing that does not need correcting is Dobberstein’s eye for the goal. In one weekend, the sophomore managed to set the tone for the Tiger offense. Once her teammates follow her lead, there could be more emphatic victories in store for Clemson.
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