After taking down Navy in the first round of the NCAA Championship, the NC State women’s soccer team will head to Provo, Utah to face Arkansas in the second round.
The only team to beat UNC-Chapel Hill this season, the Razorbacks have had a fantastic season. With only three losses, two of which coming against South Carolina, and two ties the Razorbacks finished as runners up in the SEC Championship behind the aforementioned Gamecocks.
Led by a quartet for high-flying goal scorers, the Razorbacks average 2.77 goals per game this season with Anna Podojil (14 goals, seven assists), Parker Goins (10 goals, nine assists), Taylor Malham (eight goals, nine assists) and Stefani Doyle (nine goals, four assists) all recording 20 or more points this season. Two other players, Tori Cannata (six goals, six assists) and Marissa Kinsey (zero goals, 10 assists), put up 10 or more points
By comparison, the Pack averages just 1.62 goals per game and has had just three players hit double digits in points this season: senior forward Tziarra King (13 goals, six assists), senior midfielder Ricci Walkling (two goals nine assists) and redshirt sophomore defender Lulu Guttenberger (three goals, five assists).
While the Pack’s defense has been stout all season, averaging just under a goal per game, the Razorbacks still have it beat in this category, conceding just .41 goals per game this season. Led by goalkeeper Katie Lund, the Razorbacks have had 13 clean sheets this season. Making 69 saves on her way to a .885 save percentage, Lund will be difficult for the Pack to get past.
Both teams are entering the game on the back of 3-0 wins in the first round as Arkansas knocked out North Texas and NC State sunk Navy.
The match will be one of the toughest tests for the Wolfpack this season but a tough test is nothing new to Tim Santoro and his team. Having faced off against top competition like South Carolina, Georgetown, Virginia, Virginia Tech, UNC-Chapel Hill, etc., being up against the wall is nothing new to this team. Having gotten results against the likes of Virginia Tech (1-1 draw), Virginia (0-0 draw) and only narrowly losing to teams like South Carolina, the belief is there for the Pack.
The match will kick off at 5 p.m. on Thursday and the winner will go on the face the winner of BYU and Louisville in the next round on Saturday.