Needing a win to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive, Clemson’s women’s soccer team got two first half goals and then hung on in the second half to take down No. 15 Wake Forest, 2-1, Sunday at Historic Riggs Field.
“It was a great win today against a very good Wake Forest team,” said Clemson head coach Eddie Radwanski after the game.
The win improved the Tigers to 9-5-2 overall and 3-4-2 in the ACC. Clemson will close out the regular season next Thursday when it host Florida State at Riggs Field for a 7 p.m. contest. The ACC Tournament Quarterfinals will begin next Sunday.
The Tigers came out focused as Jenna Polonsky scored the game’s first goal just seven minutes in when she took a ball from Mariana Speckmaier and Julie Mackin and put it in the back of the net for a quick 1-0 lead.
It was Polonsky’s fifth goal of the season.
Clemson wasted little time in extending its lead to two goals at the 23-mark when Jeni Erickson earned her fourth goal of the season on an assist from Polonsky and Sam Staab.
“We were led by our seniors today, and our girls wanted to honor them with it being senior day,” Radwanski said. “Jeni, Shannon and Jenna started right from the kickoff. We put our imprint on the game and to jump on a very good team like Wake Forest, to get a 2-0 lead is pretty spectacular.
“It couldn’t have happened to a better group of kids, Jenna has been with me every year I have been a coach here except for one.”
The Tigers, who led 2-0 at the break, cooled down after that as Wake held them to just five more shots, while the Demon Deacons finished with 14 overall. Wake Forest had six shots on goal overall, while Clemson had just two.
However, the difference was what Clemson did with its two shots. The Demon Deacons (10-4-3, 4-3-2 ACC) finally got on the board at the 51-minute mark when Kahla Seymour intercepted a pass in the middle of he field and the drained a kick from 10-yards out to make the score 2-1.
“We had some bounces of the ball this year not go our way and we made our own luck and took good chances,” Radwanski said. “The first half was an excellent performance by our part and those are the moments in the game that can decide it.
“We made a boo-boo but we kept our wits about ourselves, and at the end of the day you are trying to get three points, and it was three points against a very good team that will help us with the ACC and NCAA tournament. Collectively it was a group that worked hard together today to earn the victory.”
Clemson keeper Sandy Maclver then held the Demon Deacons off with five saves, including two in the final key moments to seal the win.