Clemson’s women’s soccer team had little issues handling Indiana Sunday in the Tigers’ home opener at Historic Riggs Field in Clemson.
With dominant work from Ariana Speckmaier and Miranda Weslake, Clemson earned its second win of the season with a 4-2 victory over the Hoosiers.
The game started with the Tigers relentless on ball. For most of the first half, Clemson dominated possession time and most of the attacking opportunities.
About halfway through the first half, the Tigers finally capitalized. At the 20:16 mark, Freshman Kimber Haley delivered a ball to Speckmaier on the far side of the pitch. With time and a little space, Speckmaier was able to find the bottom right corner of the net from just outside the box for a 1-0 lead.
“We’re a passing team,” Clemson head coach Eddie Radwanski said. “We’re a passing-and-possession type team and it was hot today. We were able wear Indiana down.”
While the Tigers (2-2) dominated possession, Indiana was able to find a way to knot it up soon after. At 28:26, Abby Allen found the back of the net on a chip. This was unlucky for Clemson keeper Maddie Weber after the initial cross bounced off her hands and inside the box.
With the game knotted at one, Speckmaier was able to put together a run on the right side of the box, drawing a penalty kick. At 31:52 in the match, Speckmaier walked up and confidently buried the penalty, putting her team up 2-1.
With a couple of opportunities, both ways towards the end of the half, the score remained 2-1 at the break.
‘Obviously, we feed of the crowd’s energy and I would like to thank all the fans that made it out today,” Radwanski said. “It was a cooker, and until we put a little bit of a roof on Riggs’ stands they have to suffer a little bit through that. The energy and central spirit form the stands really lifts our players.”
When the second half started, it was all Clemson. The Tigers started the scoring off at the 52:28 mark. After three shots the Tigers, one of which save and two others blocked, redshirt-senior Miranda Weslake was able control the ball in the middle of the box and send it right down into the middle of the net for the third goal. It was her second goal of the season.
The Tigers furthered the run in the second half as Weslake found her second goal of the day at the 58:35 mark, thanks to an assist from Speckmaier.
“I thought it was a performance worthy of playing at Riggs,” Radwanski said about his two stars from Sunday. “The start of the season has been on the road and we haven’t played poorly, but I feel we haven’t played up to our capabilities.
“These things happen, we’re still young. I have a little bit of patience and I was really just trying to keep Ariana and Miranda and out attacking player’s confidence up because if we had opportunities we hadn’t been doing a good job putting them away. It was nice to see them put them away today because they’ve been working and focused on it.”
Indiana attempted its comeback, but Weber denied its opportunity with a save at 71:50 in the match. The Hoosiers were able to make a play at the 83:26 mark with a goal off a midfield headed through ball, but it was too little too late.
“If I was to make a coaching incentive from this game for the girls, I’d say we should have scored more goals” Radwanski said. “But that’s a good problem to have, especially when you score four goals.”
The women’s soccer team will next be seen at Riggs Field this Friday when it hosts Villanova.