The Wolfpacker

Sept.-Oct. 2022

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 37 of 51

38 ■ THE WOLFPACKER BY MATT CARTER hen Tim Santoro ar- rived at NC State af- ter the 2012 season, he faced a daunting rebuilding assign- ment for his first career head coach- ing job. The former Wake Forest assistant in- herited a women's soccer program that had not been to the NCAA Tournament in 17 seasons and during that span only once won more than two ACC games — a 3-7 conference mark in 2006. After three seasons, Santoro started to turn a corner, adding talent to the roster and getting results on the field. In 2016, the Pack broke through with an NCAA Sweet 16 appearance, the first of three such postseason runs in four consecutive tournament bids. The star of those squads was a prolific goal-scorer named Tziarra King, who finished third all-time at NC State in career points (115) and goals (48). King headlined a program-changing recruit- ing class that arrived in 2016. Santoro's next task was to keep the talent rolling into Raleigh. Enter Jameese Joseph. Joseph was a touted signing for the Wolfpack. She was called up to the U.S. National Team camp in 2016 and se- lected to play in the High School All- American Game in Orlando, Fla. Now a senior forward, Joseph can still remember the pitch Santoro gave her on the recruiting trail. He told her that her style "could fit how he wants our team to play," she recalled. The Beltsville, Md., native arrived at NC State in the fall of 2019, with a year to learn under King and the other vet- eran standouts who had turned around the Wolfpack program. That group was also a major reason why Joseph ultimately decided to come to Raleigh. "When I came on visits, they were really welcoming, and I felt like I didn't get that experience anywhere else," she remembered. Joseph flashed her considerable abili- ties as a rookie. The only freshman to start all 23 matches, she finished with 3 goals and 3 assists on a Sweet 16 squad. Joseph was named to the ACC All-Freshman Team and was the 23rd- best freshman in the country as rated by TopDrawerSoccer. After COVID-19 played havoc with women's soccer in 2020, Joseph led NC State back with a vengeance in 2021, scoring 9 goals and adding 2 assists. She made second-team all-conference and the TopDrawerSoccer Top 100 list at No. 81. Joseph scored the decisive goals against No. 3 UNC and No. 4 Duke dur- ing a 10-day span, leading NC State to wins over both teams in the same sea- son for the first time in program history. Most importantly, the Wolfpack was once again in the NCAA Tournament. "I really didn't have any expectations for myself," Joseph noted. "I just wanted to come here and prove myself, because I knew it wasn't going to be easy." Joseph also has been named preseason All-ACC going into the 2022 campaign but isn't preoccupied with awards. "I try not to think about the accolades too much," she stated. "It's not some- thing I'm looking for in the future." If anything, Joseph hopes that her successes may open the door for ob- servers to recognize some of her tal- ented teammates. "We have a lot of great players … and maybe they're not being recognized for it," she noted. "I feel like a lot of people on our team deserve those accolades, because we do have a really good team." That's exactly what Santoro was hop- ing when he passed the torch from King and her classmates to Joseph and hers. Joseph certainly showed enough in Raleigh to garner attention beyond NC State and the ACC. Earlier this sum- mer, she received her first two interna- tional caps, including one start, when she played with the U.S. U-20 National W CARRYING THE TORCH Senior Jameese Joseph Leads NC State Women's Soccer While Also Gaining International Experience

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