Wohner dribbles away

Freshman midfielder Annika Wohner dribbles the ball past a Virginia defender on Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021 at Dail Soccer Field. The Wolfpack scored one goal but lost to the Cavaliers 2-1.

Behind goals from its two leading scorers, the NC State women’s soccer team took down the South Florida Bulls 2-0 in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Sunday, Nov. 14.

Traveling down to Tampa Bay, Florida for the game, the Wolfpack got production from its leading scorers, while effectively shutting down the Bulls’ own leading scorer, Sydny Nasello.

Nasello, who entered Sunday’s contest with 11 goals on the year, was held to just one shot, her joint-lowest total this season. While the Pack defenders like redshirt junior Lulu Guttenberger made big plays to help stifle the forward, NC State’s dominance on the ball helped keep South Florida from getting possession in dangerous areas for much of the game.

The Wolfpack’s own leading scorer, sophomore forward Jameese Joseph, looked sharp out of the gate, but a couple of unlucky bounces kept her off the score sheet before the break. That wasn’t the case for the Pack’s second leading scorer, however, as freshman midfielder Annika Wohner opened the scoring in the 24th minute to capitalize on an early spell of Wolfpack dominance.

Freshman defender Fernanda Soto split the USF defense with a perfect through ball to sophomore forward Leyah Hall-Robinson. Hall-Robinson rounded the keeper, but it was Wohner who finished off the chance for her first career postseason goal and sixth goal of the season.

Joseph eventually capitalized on her sharp start just after the break, doubling the Pack’s advantage in the 51st minute. Breaking forward in transition, Joseph let fly from the edge of the box and found the bottom corner with a hard-hit shot.

USF would not go down without a fight, battling back after Joseph’s goal. While the Wolfpack was able to hold the Bulls to just a small handful of shots through the first hour of play, the hosts had some good chances to pull one back in the final half hour.

Freshman goalkeeper Maria Echezarreta was equal to the chances, making some huge saves to keep the clean sheet. 

Echezarreta has been a difference maker for the Wolfpack all season, coming with the big saves in the big games and Sunday was no exception.

With the win, the Wolfpack advances to the second round and will face Pepperdine, who won its first round matchup against South Dakota State 7-1. The game will take place in Tallahassee, Florida and the winner would likely be set for a showdown with the No. 1-ranked ACC Champions, Florida State.

The last time NC State faced Pepperdine was in the second round of the 2016 tournament, a game the Wolfpack won 1-0 to send it to its first Sweet 16 under head coach Tim Santoro.

Sports Editor

I'm Nicholas Schnittker, one of the two assistant sports editors for Technician. I'm in the class of 2022 and am currently majoring in communication and minoring in journalism. I have been at Technician since August 2018 and an editor since May 2019.