The Wolfpacker

September 2015

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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56 ■ THE WOLFPACKER "Last year we were right in games, but we were really young. That cost us against Duke in our last game and cost us against Virginia Tech. We were in control of those games but ended up dropping them mostly due to inexperience." The Pack lost to both VT and Duke by identical 3-2 scores, the latter on the road and in double overtime. NCSU had a po- tential game-winning shot in a 0-0 tie with Valparaiso deflect off the post. Had the Wolfpack prevailed in those three games, its overall record would have stood at 10-5-3 heading into the ACC Tournament. "Soccer is the devil's game for a reason," Findley remarked. "You can win in every single statistical category, have more shots, more possession, and lose." Injuries to Nick Surkamp, Clement Si- monin and Ade Taiwo forced the Pack to play essentially the final seven games of last year without a forward. Although Surkamp and Simonin exhausted their eli- gibility, Taiwo is back as a sophomore, and Findley feels his team could go six or seven deep at forward this season. Fifth-year senior Phillip Carmon, listed previously as a midfielder, could get a look at forward, and junior Travis Wannem- uehler (three goals and four assists in 2014) is also back in the mix. "I think we have a really good group of guys that can work up there," he said. "Our focus has been making sure that they are finishers. "We are not worried about whose scor- ing the goals. You can be a finisher by play- ing the ball to a guy who just has to tap it in. We are worried about them combining for points and working for goals." The midfield should be a position of strength. Senior Holden Fender was third- team All-ACC last year after tying for the team lead with four assists, and sophomore Zach Knudson made the ACC All-Fresh- man Team. Knudson matched the team lead in goals scored with four and added a pair of assists. Findley has high expectations for junior Yanni Hachem, who also had four goals last fall, and 21-year German junior Julius Duchscherer joins the team with extensive international experience. Findley also feels secure about his goal- keepers. Fifth-year senior Alex McCauley started 17 matches last season and recorded six shutouts during what Findley termed "an excellent year." Junior Boo Davis will be the backup. The biggest competition is at defender. Sophomore Caleb Duvernay impressed Findley during his rookie campaign while playing in all 18 games, but the other posi- tions are up for grabs. Overall though, Findley does not hide his excitement for the looming season. "Staying healthy is the No. 1 thing," he stated. "I think we have good leadership, we have some maturity in the right spots and we have some good hungry young players that can help us win games." ■ ■ By The Numbers 6 Number of different ACC teams that have won a national title in men's soccer over the past eight years — counting Maryland, which took the crown while still in the ACC in 2008. Additionally, Louisville, which joined the league last year as Maryland's replacement, reached the title game in 2010, and Virginia Tech made the College Cup in 2007. 7 Players on the NC State roster that are either from or played high school soccer in Wake County. 9 Total amount of goals difference in NCSU's seven defeats last year. The Pack lost twice by two goals, and their other five setbacks were by one. Noting The Pack • NC State head coach Kelly Findley said that he is excited about the switch to divisional formats. The Pack's At- lantic Division will be identical to how it lines up in football with Boston College, Clemson, Florida State, Louisville, Syracuse and Wake Forest being NCSU's rivals. "You could have a great team in the ACC, never win the conference championship and yet could be in the final four," Findley said. "The idea we thought of as a group is if you think about the student-athlete experience, we wanted to give our guys a chance to experience a conference championship. "We wanted to that opportunity to compete in a division with a chance to win that." Three Players To Watch Senior midfielder Holden Fender — The former UCLA transfer was third-team All-ACC last season after recording a goal and four assists while playing all 18 games. He also was a starter during his sophomore season for the Pack. Sophomore midfielder Zach Knudson — Knudson tallied four goals and two assists as a rookie and made the All-Freshman Team in the ACC. His 10 total points tied for the third most on the team. He had five goals and two assists to lead the New York Red Bulls U23 team to the Premier Development League Championship match this summer. The PDL is considered the top amateur soccer competition in the United States. Fifth-year senior goalkeeper Alex Mc - Cauley — Last fall McCauley had a 1.21 goals- against average in 17 matches and recorded six shutouts during his first season as the starting goalie. Wolfpack head coach Kelly Findley called McCauley "a fantastic goalkeeper." KNUDSON Fifth-year senior goalkeeper Alex McCauley played in 17 matches last fall during his first season as the starter, and recorded six shutouts and a 1.21 goals-against average. PHOTO COURTESY NC STATE MEDIA RELATIONS

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