Men's Soccer (6-1-2)
This past Saturday Clemson went on the road to Winston-Salem and secured a 1-1 draw against the Top 25 Demon Deacons. Clemson scored first in the game, this time off a TJ Casner free kick. There is some debate about who officially gets credit for the goal, as it appears Aaron Jones may have gotten a touch to deflect the shot into the goal. Wake Forest, like Coastal Carolina, was able to equalize in the second half.
I'm a little bit disappointed that the Tigers were not able to secure the win after going ahead. Yes, winning on the road, in less than ideal conditions, against a ranked opponent is incredibly difficult. Yes, soccer can be a cruel mistress at times. But I would like to see Clemson develop a better killer instinct. When you take the lead you need to be able to kill off the game, especially in an important conference game.
On a more positive note, I am thrilled to see TJ Casner continue his run of good form. He now has a goal in four straight games and 5 goals total in the season. He will be an important part of any conference title run.
Wake Forest has surprised me this year, rising all the way to #8 in some of the national polls. They're just another very solid team that makes the ACC a formidable conference. Winning the conference partially depends on getting hot at just the right time, like Clemson did at the end of last season. I'm a bit disappointed with a draw but getting a positive result on the road against a team like Wake is nothing to take for granted.
Clemson hits the road again to take on Gardner-Webb on Tuesday. Clemson won 6-0 last year, so this one should be a good warm up for a tough three game stretch that includes Charlotte and Louisville.
Women's Soccer (8-1-1)
The Tigers had a Florida road trip this weekend, taking on top 3 Florida State and struggling Miami.
Clemson lost 3-1 to the defending national champs. The Tigers were done in by slow starts in both halves; the Seminoles scored two minutes into each half. You won't win many games against one of the nation's best teams if you aren't mentally focused for the entire match. The Tigers did well to play through the disappointing starts and get a goal to avoid the shut out.
On Sunday, Clemson went all the way to double OT before picking up the winner in a 2-1 game. Once again, the Tigers found themselves with an early deficit, with Miami scoring in the 12th minutes. After a disappointing Thursday night game, and then finding themselves a goal down against a weaker, but well-organized, opponent, some teams might have checked out of it mentally. It can be incredibly frustrating to be losing to a team that you know you're better than, especially a team that will most likely park the bus after their goal. Clemson showed good mental fortitude in fighting back to get the win.
I'm a bit disappointed in the result on Thursday but I know it is not indicative of the team's abilities. I also think Clemson had a bit of a hangover from the FSU game when they played Miami. I'm not too concerned about the struggles with the 'Canes.