The Wolfpacker

September 2015

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 57 of 95

58 ■ THE WOLFPACKER BY JACEY ZEMBAL T hird-year head coach Tim Santoro has been entrusted with building the talent base up on the women's soc- cer roster, and he sees progress be- ing shown despite last year's 2-15-2 mark (which included going 0-10 in the ultra- strong ACC). NC State was outscored 45-16 last year, but nine different matches were decided by one goal, with the Wolfpack going 1-8 in those contests. However, the ACC remains as chal- lenging as ever. Six league teams earned spots in the preseason coaches top 25, with Duke sitting at No. 26. Defending national champ Florida State and runner-up Virginia check in at No. 1 and No. 2 in the rankings. "We had a good spring season [going 3-2-1], and we are trying to build off of that," Santoro said. "We came back very fit and very prepared. That is a good sign so far. Now, it's just getting everyone inte- grated and on the same page. "These kids just need confidence. Once we can win a tough game, they'll feed off of that. Once we win, we'll keep winning." To help turnaround the fortunes of the program, the Wolfpack went 2,500-plus miles west to the Golden State. NC State signed four players from San Diego, three of whom played on the same club team, Del Mar Carmel Valley. Freshmen midfielders Taylor Porter and Crystal Cordova, goalie Sydney Wootten and defender Hannah Keogh represent the progress made in recruiting the talent-rich state of California. The two other incoming freshmen — forward Maxine Blackwood of Somerville, N.J., and midfielder Ella Bonner of Chesa- peake, Va. — came from NC State's tradi- tional recruiting areas. "Any time you have a large freshman class, you want to integrate them as fast as possible," Santoro said. "I think there is an opportunity for all of them to contribute. How much I can't say yet, but they'll get the opportunity." Another "newcomer" will be a wel- ■ PREVIEW WOMEN'S SOCCER ■ Key Dates To Watch Aug. 23, vs. Pepperdine — The Wolfpack will provide its four freshmen from San Diego with an early home- coming, taking part in the Torero Classic Aug. 21 and 23. After playing host San Diego, NC State will face No. 10 Pepperdine. The Wave went 16-3-4 and reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament last year. Oct. 2, vs. Virginia — The Cavaliers return nine starters from last year's NCAA runner-up squad, which went 23-3. UVa opens the season ranked No. 2 in the country behind FSU. Oct. 8, At Florida State — The No. 1-ranked Seminoles enter the year with 21 straight victories and have reached the NCAA Tournament 15 times since 2000. FSU has reached the NCAA quarterfinals 10 straight years, which is the longest consecutive streak in the country. Florida State returns eight starters and 12 players from last year's national championship squad. Newcomer To Watch Freshman forward Maxine Blackwood — ranked the 5-7 Black- wood as a four-star prospect, the highest rating among the six newcomers. The Somerville (N.J.) High product was her team MVP in 2012 and 2014, and tallied 65 goals and 44 assists in her prep career. She was first-team all-area her senior campaign. REBUILDING PROCESS A Veteran Group Plus Six Newcomers Should Help The Wolfpack Move Forward Redshirt sophomore forward Jackie Stengel, who was third-team All-ACC and earned a spot on the league's all-freshman squad in 2013, is back to lead the Pack offense after missing all but three contests last year due to a knee injury. PHOTO BY GREG MINTEL/NC STATE MEDIA RELATIONS

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