Conceding an opener in just the second minute, the NC State women’s soccer team fell 3-0 to the No. 19 Pepperdine Waves in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Friday, Nov. 19.
The Waves (17-3-1) took an early lead in Tallahassee, Florida and capitalized on the Wolfpack’s (9-9-2) push for an equalizer with a pair of goals in the second half.
Pepperdine came out of the gates fast and hit the Wolfpack with a sucker punch, opening the scoring in the second minute. Freshman defender Brianna Weber got caught too far inside on the play and wasn’t able to recover in time.
The Waves continued to dominate the early stages of the game, but as it progressed the Pack gained more control.
At around the half hour mark, head coach Tim Santoro made a few changes to the Wolfpack’s set up with sophomore forward Jameese Joseph switching from the left side to the right and freshman forward Mia Vaughan taking up the wide position on the left.
The switch really opened the Wolfpack offense up as Joseph found more success on the ball and stretched out the Pepperdine defense. The Pack put together a couple of solid chances, even finding the back of the net before the linesman’s flag wiped the goal from the scoresheet.
With the Pack pushing for an equalizer in the second half, the Waves grabbed a goal on the counter attack to double its advantage and grabbed a third in the 71st minute to put any hopes of a comeback out of the question.
The loss marked just the second time a Santoro-led Wolfpack team has lost in the second round of the tournament, with the Pack making the Sweet 16 in three of its five tournament trips under the ninth-year head coach.
While the Pack will lose some very big contributors this offseason, such as junior midfielder Toni Starova and the center back duo of junior Jenna Butler and redshirt junior Lulu Guttenberger, the team has a very young, talented core that bodes well for the coming seasons.