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Women’s Soccer || A Statement Season in 2014

Women’s Soccer || A Statement Season in 2014

By Libby Kehn || Clemson Athletic Communications

The Clemson women’s soccer program made a statement with its 2014 season. The members of the team and staff told the world that #ClemsonIsBack. It was a season filled with “firsts since” and even some “firsts ever,” for the Tigers, including the team’s first 13-win season since 2002 and its first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2007.

Here are a few more of those notable items:

  • First win over a ranked team since 2007 (at then-#9 South Carolina on Sept. 5).
  • First time (week of Sept. 8) in the national rankings since Oct. 27, 2007.
  • First undefeated nonconference regular season since 2000.
  • First wins over conference foes Miami and Duke since 2006 and  2007, respectively.
  • First time ever that the team has won six ACC games.
  • First Clemson player (Kailen Sheridan) to earn First Team All-ACC honors since 2007.
  • Three players named to the All-ACC team for the first time since 2007.
  • Three players named to All-ACC team and two freshmen named to ACC All-Freshman team since 2004.
  • Fewest goals allowed (10) in program history, by six goals. Second fewest is the 2000 team, with 16.
  • Only three losses on the season, which were to North Carolina, Notre Dame and Virginia Tech – all three reached the NCAA Round of 16 this season.

The improvements weren’t only tangible, however, especially to those that have followed the program closely over the last several years. The 2014 team had an air of confidence. It wasn’t overconfidence; it was simply a belief that they were capable of winning any time they stepped on the field.

It’s a confidence and a belief Eddie Radwanski and his assistants, Jeff Robbins and Siri Mullinix, spent three and a half years working to build in the team. And it’s one that the Tiger head coach felt the presence of even before the 2014 season began.

In a preseason interview, when asked about his goal for the 2014 team, Radwanski’s answer was simple and straightforward.

“NCAA Tournament.”

On Nov. 14, the Tigers concluded a season in which they achieved Radwanski’s goal. And while the season did not have the ending they wanted – they played to a 0-0 draw against #18 South Carolina in the first round and the Gamecocks advanced on penalty kicks – the future looks so bright for this team.

The Tigers’ starting lineup this season included one freshman, seven sophomores, one junior and two seniors, so the team will return nine starters next fall. In addition, the team’s top eight scorers are returning, including four players with 10 or more points on the season: Catrina Atanda (20), Salma Anastasio (13), Tori Andreski (10) and Shannon Horgan (10).

On the defensive side, two-time All-ACC goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan will be back for her junior season, along with three of the four members of the back line (Emily Byorth, Gabby Byorth and Claire Wagner) that allowed just 10 goals, 107 shots, 51 shots on goal and 35 corner kicks in 2014. Those numbers are the fewest allowed in those four categories in program history.

Not only is Clemson back, but the Tigers aren’t going anywhere. And it’s not much of a stretch to think that next preseason, Radwanski’s goal for his team is going to include more than just making the NCAA Tournament.

 By Hannah Burleson || Clemson Athletic Communications

Click here to view the entire 2014 season in pictures.