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Women’s soccer rises to No. 9 ahead of ACC play

Senior Makenna Morris, pictured throwing a corner against WCU, is a major part of the team’s success.

The Clemson women’s soccer team was ranked No. 25 in the nation for initial preseason rankings. Just days ago, the Tigers bumped up an impressive 16 spots to claim No. 9 following two crucial victories at home in the last week.

Now sitting at 5-0-1, the Tigers have continued their upward trend of excellence since the preseason ended.

The team kicked off its three-game homestand at Historic Riggs in dominating fashion, defeating Furman, who is now 3-2-1, by a score of 4-1. Head coach Eddie Radwanski’s squad dominated the Paladins with 37 shots on goal compared to one and maintained possession of the ball 71% of the game.

The Tigers displayed a similar dominance when they took to the pitch against Western Carolina just a few days later, taking down the Catamounts by a score of 5-0. This was the Tigers’ fourth shutout of the season, speaking volumes to their talent on both sides of the ball.

In both games, Clemson put the pressure on early and never looked back. The first goals were both scored in the opening 10 minutes of play, with midfielder Megan Bornkamp striking first against Furman and defender Makenna Morris entering the scoresheet early against West Carolina. Both were assisted by freshman midfielder Jenna Tobia, who tallied four assists across the matchups.

“I’m trying to help the team in any way I can, and I think my role on the field has helped us a lot with getting in on transition. And with my speed, I think it’s helped us put it in the back of the net,” Tobia said.

Although she is officially listed as a defender, Bornkamp has excelled upfield, scoring twice. She embraced her position change, which occurred off an experiment over the summer, saying, “Coach just threw me up top one day… and (I’ve) been up there ever since.”

Morris, meanwhile, has continued to emerge as a team leader. Makenna “is one of the best players in the country,” Radwanski said.

“She is that gifted of a soccer player where you put her in (any) spot, and she can cause a problem,” he added.

Although their positions on the field may differ from the official roster, Clemson’s defense performed well. Furman was allowed just one shot on goal in 90 minutes, and Western Carolina was held to four unsuccessful attempts. The Tigers’ back line has played clean, with only three fouls given in the Furman match and just one against Western Carolina.

On the cohesion of the team, Radwanski could not be more pleased.

“This is a close team; they care about each other, they love each other, and they just bring it out on the field,” he said.

“All we are looking for in each and every game is, ‘Are we continuing to get better? Are we making strides in different areas?’ And I think we took a good step forward this weekend,” he added.

“The season is getting ramped up soon. ACC play is approaching, so where we are now at this point, I’m pleased with the team. We are going to have to continue to do all the things we are doing well when we face our next opponent next week.”

Clemson will play its next game on Thursday when it hosts No. 8 Arkansas at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on the ACC Network.

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Patrick Driscoll, Senior Reporter
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