The Wolfpacker

September 2013

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Lesson Learned Wolfpack Is Looking To Build Off Of Last Year W By Ryan Tice hen NC State student-athletes returned to campus in August, they were greeted with a Welcome Back Pack dinner that featured Wolfpack Hall of Fame inductee Mike Caldwell as the speaker. The former star pitcher told the crowd that sometimes you have to lose in order to learn the lessons that you need to win, and there's no other way to do it. ■PREVIEW men's soccer Men's soccer head coach Kelly Findley thought that message was specifically tailored for his team. After the squad opened the 2012 season with six straight wins — its best start since 1982 — the Pack rose to No. 14 in the national polls. However, NC State went 4-10 the rest of the way while injuries took a toll on the young squad and the daunting ACC schedule began. "I think we learned," the coach said. "We got off to a great start, and I think they thought everything would keep going. We lost a little bit of focus. We got that back towards the end of the year and had some good performances, but I think this year the guys understand that we have to take it one game at a time and can't look ahead. "[The start] was a confidence booster, but being a young team, our inexperience couldn't quite handle that success. We had some bumps in the road last year, but I don't think you'll see that this year." The team is older and more experienced while it enters the third year under Findley Last year, senior midfielder Alex Martinez became the first Pack player to record double-digit goals (11) and assists (10) in the same season since 1991. photo courtesy nc state media relations Key Players To Watch ■ Key Games To Watch Senior Alex Martinez, Midfielder The former transfer from High Point thrived in his first year with the Wolfpack and finished with 32 points. He was the first Pack player to record double-digit goals (11) and assists (10) in the same season since 1991. In 2012, he led the ACC in assists, finished second in points and third in goals en route to the first AllACC honor for a State player under head coach Kelly Findley. Senior Nazmi Albadawi, Midfielder The Raleigh native led the team in goals (nine), points (21) and shots (70) in 2011 before he was limited by a leg injury to just 12 games last season. He still notched three goals and five assists, and his average of 0.92 points per game ranked ninth in the ACC. Sophomore Holden Fender, Midfielder The UCLA transfer played in 14 games last year as a freshman for the Pac-12 champions. The 2012 Gatorade Player of the Year in Georgia has also competed for the US U-20 National Team and the U-19 Indoor National team. Fender was a consensus top-50 recruit coming out of high school and should make an immediate impact. • Vs. Pittsburgh, Sept. 6 — The Pack technically opens its home slate with an exhibition against UNC Wilmington Aug. 24, but this is the first regular-season game at home after the campaign kicks off at Campbell Aug. 30. • Vs. Clemson, Sept. 14 — Eight of the team's nine home games will be televised this year, and this is the first of three on NCSU will be looking for revenge after falling to the Tigers 2-1 in overtime last season despite holding a lead until the final minute of regulation. • At North Carolina, Nov. 8 — The squad closes their regular-season slate against the school's archrival. UNC finished the 2012 season ranked No. 5 nationally, so the Tar Heels will be a tough test. 72  ■  the wolfpacker 72,74.Men's Soccer Preview.indd 72 8/23/13 1:38 PM

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