BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Thanks to a hat trick from freshman Mariana Speckmaier, the 13th-ranked Clemson women’s soccer team defeated SIU Edwardsville 4-0 Friday night in its season opener in the Hoosier Challenge Cup in Bloomington, Ind. The Tiger win also marked the 200th career win for Head Coach Eddie Radwanski.
The scoring effort for the Tigers came early and often at Yeagley Field, beginning with Speckmaier’s first goal of the night, and of her collegiate career, at the 16:01 mark off a pass from graduate Jenna Polonsky. Less than ninety seconds later, Speckmaier and Polonsky connected again for a breakaway. At the 18:59 mark, Polonsky tapped in a cross from freshman Courtney Jones for her first goal of the season, and Clemson’s third goal in less than three minutes.
Speckmaier earned her third goal on an open net at the 24:29 mark to complete the hat trick Sophomore Sarah Osborne and Polonsky assisted. Speckmaier became the 15th player in Clemson history to record a hat trick, the eighth to do so in her freshman season and just the second to do so in her first career game. Polonsky finished the first match of her final season with one goal and three assists.
Clemson outshot the Cougars 17-3, including 11-3 in shots on goal. The Tigers took 13 corner kicks while holding SIUE to none. Sophomore keeper Melanie Stiles saw her first career action in goal for the Tigers, picking up three saves and the clean sheet.
With the win, Radwanski claimed his 200th career victory as a head coach. He is 200-107-28 (.639) in 17 seasons, as he coached 10 seasons at UNC Greensboro and is now beginning his seventh with the Tigers.
The Tigers return to action Sunday, Aug. 20 at Indiana at 1:30 p.m., and return home to Historic Riggs Field on Friday, Aug. 25 vs. Auburn at 7:30 p.m.
HEAD COACH EDDIE RADWANSKI QUOTES
“I’m very pleased with the result tonight. We have a lot of respect for SIUE, who knocked off Notre Dame last season in the NCAA tournament, and our girls came out determined. They played hard and well early, and the 10-minute spell with four goals certainly got us off to a good start. We were also able to play a lot of different players. It was a great way to start the season.
“As far as the 200th career win, I am happier for Jenna Polonsky, a sixth-year player who has come back from injuries; for her to start her final season with a goal and three assists and five points is huge. Same goes for Mariana Speckmaier; I couldn’t be happier for her getting her first collegiate start and having a hat trick.
“That said, I wouldn’t be at this 200-win mark without the great coaching staffs and players that I have had the pleasure of working with, while here at Clemson and in the past at UNC Greensboro. After winning 11 championships in 10 years at UNCG, and then topping it off with the ACC Championship at Clemson last season, it’s just been a wonderful journey so far, and I am excited for the road ahead.”