The Wolfpacker

March-April 2020 issue

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 41 of 51

42 ■ THE WOLFPACKER All that stood between the Pack and the postseason was the final match of the regular season, a home meeting with last-place Pitts- burgh. A win or draw would have solidified an appearance in the ACC Tournament, a loss would have dropped the team below the standings cutoff for qualification. After a tie in the first period, the Pack rattled off 10 shots in the second period but could never punch in the go-ahead goal. As time expired in regulation, the match went into overtime and NC State found itself in a sudden-death scenario with its postseason hopes on the line. In the 96th minute of the match, a corner kick from NC State's Hannah Keogh floated in front of the Pittsburgh net. A standout freshman midfielder named Tziarra King jumped over the Panther defenders and headed-in the golden goal to clinch a post- season berth with the overtime win. Now an alumna of NC State, King be- came the first player in program history to be drafted by the National Women's Soc- cer League (NWSL) when she was selected eighth overall by the Utah Royals FC in January. After accumulating a laundry list of accolades during her historic four-year career at NC State, King still reflects on that Pittsburgh game during her freshman year as one of her proudest moments during her time in Raleigh. "Winning that game against Pitt our fresh- man year to secure our spot in the ACC Tour- nament was one of the coolest moments for me without a doubt," King said. "Just that whole year was so memorable and so special. I would say that was one of my coolest ac- complishments." Nicknamed "Zee," because the "T" in her first name is silent, King led the team in points each of her four seasons and finished third all time at NC State in starts (88), points (115) and goals (48). She became the second women's soccer player in school history to receive four All-ACC selections. She was also named a third-team All-American by United Soccer Coaches as a senior. Her honors weren't limited to the field. King was a four-year member of the All- ACC Academic Team and was named ACC Scholar-Athlete of the Year following her senior season. Deemed an Academic All- American by multiple national soccer pub- lications, King earned a B.S. from NC State with a major in nutrition. "Everything she did became an example for everyone else," said Santoro, who will be entering his eighth season in Raleigh next fall. "It's hard to put into words because she was almost a 4.0 student. She was everything in soccer. "She's the nicest kid in the world. She's always smiling, she's so complete." King's tenure with the Wolfpack repre- sents one of the most prosperous stints in program history. Aside from a two-year run in 1988 and 1989, when NC State reached the College Cup in back-to-back seasons, the Pack has not been a national contender since the program started in 1984. The squad's three Sweet 16 appearances over the past four seasons have established a new era of success for the team. "One of the biggest things that attracted me to come to this program was the fact that [Santoro] and the coaching staff had such a vision for where they wanted the program to go," King said. "Before the four years that I was there, they had a little bit of a rough spell. Knowing that he had such a vision and a passion for where he wanted the program to be, I was super sold." As a freshman in 2016, King helped NC State to its first NCAA Tournament ap- pearance since it expanded to 64 teams in 2001, ending a 20-year tournament drought for the Wolfpack that began in 1996. The Pack made it to the Sweet 16 before falling 3-0 to Santa Clara. NC State would earn a tournament ap- pearance in each of King's four years on the team. Her sophomore season, she scored a KINGPIN Tziarra King Had A Profound Impact On NC State's Women's Soccer Program BY JUSTIN H. WILLIAMS n the fall of 2016, less than two weeks before Election Day, the NC State women's soccer team had a chance to end its 10-year ACC Tournament drought. The Wolfpack had not qualified for the event since 2006 and fourth-year head coach Tim Santoro saw an opportunity for the program to take a step out of a lusterless decade. I

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