The Wolfpacker

September 2018

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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64 ■ THE WOLFPACKER goals and four assists for eight points last year; his point total tied for third on the squad. The Raleigh native suffered a knee injury during the 2016 season. "He is fully back and looking very healthy and fit right now," Kiefer said. Like Taiwo, senior forward Tanner Rob- erts also has missed time in the past. He had his 2017 season cut short due to injury, after amassing four goals and two assists for 10 points in eight games played. "I'm looking for players that depict what we are looking for as far as work rate and toughness," Kiefer said. "Tanner gives you exactly that." Senior forward Stephen Elias could also be in the mix with Taiwo and Roberts. Kiefer said his scorers just need to get in position around the net, and players such as Perez can make things happen. "That will be a real carrot for some- body that takes that on," Kiefer explained. "They'll get a bunch of goals just by getting in the box." Kiefer has hailed sophomore forward Da- vid Loera for being among the best in the ACC at creating off the dribble. He had one goal and five assists for seven points last year. Sophomore midfielder Brad Sweeney, who had two assists last year, is expected to make a jump this season. Who plays next to Sweeney will be a question mark to be figured out in August. Senior Simon Blotko returns to anchor the defense in front of Krapf, and he was a team captain who had three assists last year. Se- nior Christoph Schneuwly and sophomore David Norris also return defensively, but the left back spot is wide open. Freshman James Orozco of Durham, N.C., could help fill that void. Krapf only allowed 1.06 goals per match last season, and Blotko was a key reason for that statistic. "When you look at three of the four [de- fensemen] back and a top goalkeeper, that makes you feel a little bit better," Kiefer said. "I think we can move quicker this fall." Krapf had a .683 save percentage and fin- ished with seven shutouts. He played every minute at goalie last year. "If he can just stay consistent with what he did last season, that will be helpful," Kiefer said. "I think he'll have a little less activity this season. "We want to push to get a few more shut- outs." ■ Sophomore goalie Leon Krapf played every second between the pipes last season, notching seven shutouts, a 1.06 goals-against average and an 8-6-4 record. PHOTO COURTESY NC STATE MEDIA RELATIONS ■ By The Numbers 3 Matches missed last year by sophomore forward Manny Perez, who got called up to play on the U.S. Youth National team last October. 5 Spots on the Top Drawer Soccer Freshman Top 100 list were given to NC State rookies last year — Manny Perez (No. 2), David Loera (No. 13), Leon Krapf (No. 61), David Norris (No. 79) and Brad Swee- ney (No. 97). 13 Games were decided by a goal or went into overtime last year. The Wolfpack went 6-3-4 in those contests. Newcomer To Watch Midfielder Gabriel Machado arrives from Sao Paulo, Brazil, after a two-year stop at Monroe College in Bronx, N.Y. The junior wasn't brought in to watch this season. He was named the 2017 NJCAA Division I Region XV Men's Soccer Player of the Year after having 16 goals and 12 assists in just 15 matches. Noting The Pack • Head coach George Kiefer expects several of the freshmen to be in the mix for playing time this season. Forward Iverson Brisma of East Windsor, N.J., midfielder Caleb Martinez of Wesley Chapel, Fla., and midfielder AJ Seals of Orlando, Fla., could all be thrown into the fire early this season. Junior college transfer Gabriel Machado could help immediately at midfield and freshman James Orozco of Durham, N.C., will compete for the last spot on defense. Kiefer also noted that freshman midfielder Aidan Foster of nearby Cary, N.C., has been a surprise during fall camp. "There is a number of them that can help this season," the coach said. • NC State might have a starting nucleus of nu - merous players back from last year, but Kiefer has made it clear to the players that open competition is going to be the theme going into the season. "I'll be honest, they are all open," Kiefer said. "I'd hate for anybody to come in and think they have their spot. That is from Leon [Krapf] to Manny [Perez] to Simon [Blotko]. "Every one of them needs to earn what they get." Three Players To Watch Sophomore goalie Leon Krapf The Gochsheim, Germany, product allowed 20 goals while playing every second of all 18 matches last year. He made 43 saves, had a save percentage of .683 and posted a 1.06 goals-against average. He finished with seven shutouts, including three in ACC competition — against Clemson, Virginia and Bos- ton College. The Tigers (No. 3) and Cavaliers (No. 10) were both ranked among the top 10 nationally at the time of those contests. Sophomore forward David Loera The creative ACC All-Freshman selection from Orlando, Fla., had one goal and a team-high five as- sists for seven points last year. Loera started every contest and had two assists apiece in wins over North Carolina Asheville and Louisville last year. Sophomore forward Manny Perez Top Drawer Soccer named Perez the No. 2 fresh- man in the country during his debut. The Garner, N.C., native had five goals, including three game- winners, plus four assists for 14 points. He was named ACC Freshman of the Year, earned a spot on the second-team all-conference squad and a nod to the All-Freshman team, plus was included on the All-South Region second team by the United Soccer Coaches.

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