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Clemson women’s soccer sees record number of players drafted

Thomas Gilbert
Hal Hershfelt (15) and Caroline Conti (23), pictured front and center holding their NCAA semifinalist trophy, are leaving Clemson after five years to join the NWSL.

The 2023 Clemson women’s soccer team made history in a number of ways last year, capped off by its first appearance in the College Cup in the program’s 31-year history.
Even after the championship season came to a close, the team continued its record-breaking ways. In the NWSL SuperDraft held earlier this month, four Tigers were selected, beating the earlier 2017 record of three draftees.

First off the board was midfielder Hal Hershfelt, with the fifth overall pick by the Washington Spirit. Hershfelt has made a lasting impact on the pitch for Clemson, starting 97 of 99 games in her five-year career and logging over 7,600 minutes, 16 goals and 44 points. The first-team all-ACC and NCAA all-tournament team player helped the Tigers remain offensively consistent, known for her aggressive play and ball-handling skills.

Though she may be far from her hometown of Atlanta, Hershfelt will not be left without familiar faces. Joining her with the Spirit is defender Makenna Morris, who was taken eight slots later at No. 13. Morris cemented herself as the most versatile player on the team this season, as the listed defender registered a team-high 10 goals and 26 points while leading the back line to 14 shutouts.

The Spirit have an eye for the Tigers, as Hershfelt and Morris will now have the chance to play with Clemson alumnae Samantha Staab (2019) and Mariana Speckmaier (2021).

Her ability to transition seamlessly from each end of the field will make her a valuable asset in the major leagues. In addition to her impressive statistics, she joins Hershfelt with first-team all-ACC honors in addition to second-team all-American.

The second round went by quietly for the Tigers before picking up again in the third. Goalkeeper Halle Mackiewicz was the first of her position to be selected, heading to the Patrick and Brittany Mahomes-backed Kansas City Current. Mackiewicz set a program record for shutouts with a total of 13 clean sheets and finished her Clemson career with 148 saves and just 48 goals allowed — a ratio of about 3:1.
She joins Morris as the only Tiger selected to both first-team all-ACC and second-team all-American, in addition to earning ACC Goalkeeper of the Year.

Last but not least of the Clemson draftees was forward Caroline Conti. Conti, a Greenville native, will be leaving her Upstate roots as she is headed across the country to join the Bay FC located in San Francisco. She sits up with Hershfelt with 96 starts out of 100 games played, earning 74 career points in her 7,724 minutes.

Of her 27 total goals, 10 were game-winners, including her last game at Historic Riggs to win the Tigers’ Elite 8 matchup against Penn State.
Last season, she was behind Morris as second on the team in both goals and points, with eight and 20, respectively. She also earned third-team all-ACC honors.

Head coach Eddie Radwanski lost many talented players, those drafted and those who graduated. However, the foundation and leadership by example they have set for the program will continue to motivate the team for years to come.

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About the Contributors
Grace O'Donnell
Grace O'Donnell, Sports Editor
Thomas Gilbert, Senior Photographer
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