With sports being put on hold for the foreseeable future, we wanted to look back at the years that each NC State Athletics program had, starting with women’s soccer. From seniors going pro to a solid run in the NCAA Championship, the Wolfpack had plenty of exciting moments but here are the top five moments from the 2019 NC State women’s soccer season.
5. Tziarra King snags five goal contributions in one game
Senior midfielder Tziarra King will appear on this list a number of times as she had a stellar final year before being drafted by the Utah Royals. Finishing the year with 13 goals and six assists, King had plenty of games to remember, but her best single-game performance came at ECU on Sept. 18.
Coming off of a hat trick against Furman just three days earlier, King scored or assisted every goal in the Pack’s 5-2 win. The seven points in a game stands as King’s career-high and even in her 17-goal, six-assist sophomore year, hee previous single-game high was five.
This could have been higher on the list, but putting five goal contributions at five was just too tempting.
4. Kia Rankin blasts in overtime golden goal
The Wolfpack’s 3-2 overtime win over Syracuse was by no means an easy or stress-free game, but it was definitely a fun one. After going down early, the Pack battled back and took a 2-1 lead into halftime but surrendered the lead in the second half, sending the game to overtime.
It didn’t take long for the senior forward-turned-defender Rankin to call game as she flew down the sideline, dropped a defender and launched in the golden goal, and she was happy to see it fly in.
“We talked about going one v one end line,” Rankin said after the game. “So I took the chance because it's overtime; we're trying to get an early goal. I was able to beat my defender and I took a touch inside again. I saw the far post was open so I tried to slot it home, and thank God, it went in.”
Rankin scored just two goals all season but both were incredibly important, and we will get to her second goal later in this list.
3. Back-to-back wins in Louisville
The end of the regular season was interesting, to say the least. In the final game of the regular season, the Wolfpack headed to Kentucky to face the then-No. 14 Cardinals. Needing a win to cement its place in the ACC Tournament, the Pack came away with a 1-0 win behind a goal from now-transferred sophomore midfielder Anna Toohey.
With the win, the Wolfpack made the ACC Tournament and the seeding shook out in such a way that the Pack stayed in Louisville for a second matchup with the Cardinals.
The Wolfpack’s first goal in that game came from a bit of luck as sophomore center back Lulu Guttenberger’s corner made its way into the net off of a Cardinal in the 54th minute. Louisville managed to equalize in the 80th minute, but King came up big in overtime, capitalizing on a counter-attack and sending the Pack into the ACC semifinal.
The back-to-back wins were exciting and came just days apart. Both wins over a then-top 15 team also helped NC State’s seeding in the NCAA Tournament, which we will get to in a bit.
2. Pair of seniors go pro
The Wolfpack had not one, but two players from this past year’s incredible senior class go pro with King being selected eighth overall by the Utah Royals in the first round of the 2020 NWSL College Draft and, just a few short weeks later, midfielder Ricci Walkling putting pen to paper on a contract with SV Werder Breman in Germany.
In their four years at State, the two were a deadly combination, with King often being the recipient of a great Walkling assist and Walkling often being the beneficiary of King’s brilliant finishing. King and Walkling’s senior class had a combined record of 49-28-12, making the NCAA Tournament all four years, going to the third round three times and the second round once.
While the duo didn’t do it alone by any stretch of the imagination, they were a big part of NC State's great run over the last four years, and fans should be excited to see what these two do at the professional level.
1. Win over Arkansas to advance to Sweet 16
NC State had been rolling some unique set-piece routines all season, and they really worked against one of the best teams in the country in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Razorbacks came into the game against the Pack with just two losses and wins over teams like the UNC Tar Heels, who beat the Pack twice earlier in the season, and Texas A&M.
The Wolfpack came in and got things done as Rankin scored her second goal of the season, pouncing on a blocked shot by King, and Guttenberger placed one in the top corner to give the Pack a 2-1 win.
As previously mentioned, the win put the Pack into the third round for the third time in four years. Unfortunately, NC State’s run ended in the next round at the hands of BYU, but the win over Arkansas was an exciting moment and showed that the Pack can not only consistently make the NCAA Tournament, but make a run in it and compete with some of the best teams in the country.