Sept. 23, 2011
CLEMSON, SC – There was a span of about 25 minutes in Thursday’s 6-2 loss to 10th-ranked Florida State that Clemson played the kind of soccer Eddie Radwanski wants to see for 90 minutes.
Though they were down 5-0 at the time, the Tigers became more aggressive on the defensive end and were attacking on the offensive side as they got goals from Liska Dobberstein and Stacey Huddleston.
Clemson (5-4, 0-2 ACC) also had an opportunity to score at least two more goals before time ran out as one hit off the top of the goal post and a second was saved by FSU keeper Taylor Vancil.
It was the kind of soccer, and fight, Radwanski knew his young team had in them.
“I was wondering, `Are these girls going to stand up and fight and compete?’ They at least showed a glimpse that `Enough is enough. Let’s get after it,'” the Clemson coach said. “That’s the way to play. You have two choices. You can play like you are walking on egg shells or you can play like `I’m going for it.’
“I have always been a proponent of `I’m going for it.’ Play aggressive. They just saw what happened the other way, so what is there to lose?” Radwanski admits it is easier to play when a team is behind in a match, but it’s a good sign to see his team continue to fight when the odds are so stacked up.
“It got a little bit contagious,” he said. “Vanessa (Laxgang) started to play with a bit more confidence and was threatening. It was just a little bit of a domino effect.”
With fourth-ranked Duke coming to down Sunday (2 p.m.) and with matches against No. 11 Maryland, No. 13 Boston College and No. 5 North Carolina looming in the weeks to come, it will be imperative that the Tigers come out and play aggressive and assertive soccer for the full 90 minutes as opposed to just 25.
“You can’t just have a spurt like that,” he said. “You have to have a little bit more consistency than that.”
In its first two ACC games, Clemson has paid a penalty because it did not start well, including the Tigers’ 3-2 overtime loss at Miami on September 15. Clemson fell behind early in both of its first two ACC matches before making late rallies. It’s a trend Radwanski wants to see end.
“That comes down to mentality,” he said. “We make them aware of it. We try to help them in their preparation, but ultimately, they’re the ones that have to play.” Now the question is – how will they respond when they face Duke on Sunday?
“If we start the game like we did (against Florida State) then we are going to be in trouble,” Radwanski said. “It is just a decision on what it is that you want to do. When you are in a rebuilding process, you face these moments.
“You have to make the decision. You have to compete. We have to take from (the Florida State match) what we can. Watch some film, move forward and go play a very good Duke team.”
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