Clemson heads into the 2018 campaign off a successful, but ultimately unfulfilling 2017 season. In 2017 went into the ACC tournament ranked 9th but ultimately lost to #1 ranked Wake Forest in the semi-final. They entered the NCAA tournament ranked #5, but lost in stunning fashion, bowing out at home in the 2nd round to Coastal Carolina.
The 2018 Clemson squad must replace their three leading goal scores from last season, including first team 1st team All-ACC Striker Diego Campos and 1 team All-ACC midfielder Oliver Shannon, both of whom were selected in the MLS Super draft.
This year’s team features sophomore midfielder Robbie Robinson (All-ACC Freshman Team 20147) and sophomore defender Justin Malou (All-ACC Tournament team 2017), along with senior goal keeper Johnny Southerland (MAC Herman Trophy Watch List 2018).
The Tigers brought in the 2nd rated recruiting class in the nation, including 4* striker Grayson Barber and 4* defender Charlie Asensio, and they are going to need to hit the ground running in order for the Tigers to match their success from last season. Goals have been scarce so far in the 2018 season, but that is to be expected with such a young squad. This team should improve exponentially as the season progresses and young players get their legs and confidence in a brutal ACC.
Last Week’s Results:
Clemson 0 - Creighton 2
Clemson 1 - Omaha 0
Current Record: 1-1
Friday - 8/31 - Clemson @ SCAR - 7 PM
The men’s team remains on the road this week, stopping off in Columbia to extend their 3 game over the currently 0-1 Gamecocks. The Tigers slipped out of the rankings this after dropping their opening match in Omaha to home standing Creighton and are looking to rest up and rebound against what should be an over-matched South Carolina squad. If you find your self in the unfortunate position of being in Columbia Friday night, head on out to Stone Field and support the Tigers.
The women’s team looks to continue their run of four straight NCAA tournament appearances after being eliminated in penalty kicks by Texas in the second round in 2017. The 2017 Tigers started off the season strong last year in the non-conference, struggled in their always tough ACC schedule, and then got hot late to threaten in both the ACC and NCAA tournament.
The Tigers only lost three players to graduation from the 2017 squad, but Shannon Horgan, Jenni Erickson, and Jenna Polonsky were the heart of the attack. Replacing their goal scoring and leadership will be crucial for a successful 2018 campaign.
Miranda Westlake and sophomore forward Mariana Speckmaier will lead the attack for the Tigers in 2018. Westlake has been a steady contributor throughout her career and is poised to move into a starring role in her final campaign. Speckmaier is coming off a sensational freshman campaign where she tied for the team lead in goals with 7 and was 2nd overall in total points for the Tigers on her way to being named to the All-ACC freshman team. Red-shirt freshman Courtney Jones, one of Clemson’s top recruits in the 2017 class, is also looking to make her mark after her freshman season was ended by a back injury only 3 games into the season.
The 2018 may take a few games to figure out how to retool their attack, but they should be a strong and competitive squad by the time the ACC season rolls around. In fact, after a few early season hiccups, it appears the Tigers are starting to hit their stride.
Last Week’s Results:
Clemson 0 - Scar 1
Clemson 4 - Indiana 1
Current Record: 2-2
Friday - 8/31 - Villanova @ Clemson - 7 PM
If anyone is in town Friday night and looking for some cheap, late afternoon entertainment, the Tigers will be taking on Villanova at Historic Riggs Field. The Wildcats are currently 3-1 on the season and coming off a 4-0 drubbing of Lehigh. Nova has a potent offense that has produced 7 goals over their last two games. This will be an interesting test for the Tigers, and should be a fun game to watch.