The Wolfpacker

September 2018

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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60 ■ THE WOLFPACKER "It's really relaxing to know that we have a kid who can change the game on her own at any point," Santoro said. The coach pointed out that King has also improved on the defensive end, and isn't just a goal scorer. "She knew she could get better on the defensive side [this spring]," Santoro said. "She concentrated on that a little more to become more complete, though she's pretty complete." Junior forward Kia Rankin could also break out this season, if she remains healthy. She had five goals and 13 points as a fresh- man, and battled through injuries to tally five goals and 12 points last year. "Coming off her injury, she should be back fairly early in the season, but will miss a couple of games," Santoro said. "She can score goals too, and Z needs that. It can take a lot of pressure off Z." Redshirt junior forward Maxine Black- wood is another player who could make life easier for King. Blackwood had four goals and five assists last season to rank second on the squad with 13 points. She missed the 2016 campaign due to an ACL tear, and only managed to play 10 matches her freshman year. "She would be the one that could be more of a breakout player," Santoro said. "Those two [Blackwood and Rankin] can score goals, so it will be pick your poison." Santoro wants the ball to go to Walkling in the midfield, where she is joined by King, se- nior Taylor Porter and junior Paige Griffiths. Walkling had four goals and four assists for 12 points last year, and is the straw that stirs the drink for the Wolfpack offense. "She won't lose it [the ball]," he said. "They just need to get the ball to her, and she'll deal with the pressure. "She is like a coach on the field and un- derstands the game on a different level. I love having that player on the field." Santoro wants to see completed passes and a better passing percentage from his last line of defense. "I also like the location of passes," Santoro said. "Krissi [Schuster, a junior] and Hannah [Keogh, a senior], our two outside backs, I think they received most of their attacking stats on the other half of the field. "That shows you how advanced our de- fenders can be." The impact of Guttenberger, a native of Germany, goes way beyond her statistics — she only had one assist last year. "Lulu, I think, is as good as any center back in the country," Santoro said. "That was as a freshman, and she is going to be better this year, knowing the country and the team. "She doesn't give the ball away and is a great one-on-one defender." NC State will need to find a new starter at one of the two center back positions, replac- ing the departing Cailyn Boch. Freshman Jenna Butler could have a chance to fill that void. "That will be a good position battle in the preseason," Santoro explained. The 5-6 Wootten allowed an average of 0.90 goals against per game in 19 contests, and she saved 79.0 percent of the shots she faced. The Wolfpack went 12-5-2 in her starts, and she posted eight shutouts. "If she has to make two or three saves a game, something [is off]," Santoro said. "I think she is the best keeper in the league this year. "She is quick, strong, her angles and an- ticipation [are good], and she is the best with her feet. She plays like a field player, which is a dimension that gives teams problems." ■ Three Players To Watch Junior midfielder Tziarra King The Sicklerville, N.J., native led NC State with 17 goals and 40 points, which ranked fourth and fifth nationally, respectively. Those totals also ranked sixth (goals) and seventh (points) in the program's single-season annals. The 5-8 King also finished with six assists, 35 shots on goal and five game- winning goals. She earned first-team All-ACC honors and was on the league all-tournament squad. She was also named to the United Soccer Coaches All- East region first team. King was part of the United States under-23 program at various points the last two years. Sophomore defender Lulu Guttenberger The Velburg, Germany, native enjoyed a banner debut at NC State last year. The 5-4 Guttenberger was the lone freshman to start all 22 matches and she played 1,952 minutes. She had one assist and seven shots on the season, but her worth came in shutting down opposing teams' top players. She was tabbed as an ACC All-Freshman selection and was ranked by Top Drawer Soccer as the No. 31 freshmen in the country. She also has been part of Germany's national team program. Junior midfielder Ricci Walkling The 5-6 Walkling was fourth on the team with 12 points (four goals and four assists). The product of Obergriesbach, Germany, earned third-team All-ACC honors last year and had three game-win - ning goals. She had 33 shots with 18 of them on goal, with the former ranking third on the squad. Walkling was ranked No. 33 in the country on Top Drawer Soccer's list of the top 100 freshmen in 2016. Walkling is currently a member of the Ger- many under-19 national team, which advanced to the UEFA European Championships in Slovakia in 2016. Newcomer To Watch Freshman defender Jenna Butler of Gainesville, Va., brings good size at 5-10, and plays with a cer- tain comfort on the ball and the ability to pass in a variety of ways per coach Tim Santoro. She trained for two years with FC Virginia, and could be in line to start this upcoming season. ■ By The Numbers 2 Goals needed by junior Tziarra King to crack NC State's top 10 career scorers lists. She'd join Lind- sey Underwood (2000-03) and Lindsay Vera (2005-08), who are tied at No. 10 with 27 career goals apiece. 10 ACC victories the last two years, which ex- ceeds the amount of ACC victories accumu- lated (nine) from 2006-15. 21 Years in between winning an ACC Tourna- ment game. The Wolfpack defeated Mary- land 3-1 in 1995 and topped Notre Dame 4-1 last year in 2017. Junior midfielder Ricci Walkling earned third-team All-ACC laurels last year and has started all 44 games in her career so far. PHOTO COURTESY NC STATE MEDIA RELATIONS

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