Missing five players from its usual rotation, N.C. State’s depth was tested against College of Charleston on Tuesday night.
The Wolfpack passed with flying colors.
Nick Surkamp scored a goal and added an assist, Zach Knudson added a goal, and Alex McCauley registered his fourth shutout of the season to lead N.C. State to a 2-0 nonconference men’s soccer win at Dail Soccer Field.
N.C. State (3-2-1) was short-handed because of injuries to freshman forwards Ade Taiwo and Ryan Peterson and redshirt senior defender Ryan Metts. Compounding the problem, junior defender Reed Norton and sophomore midfielder Michael Bajza received red cards during the 2-1 loss Friday at Wake Forest and had to sit out a game.
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“With three injuries and two red cards, we had great depth and a great team performance,” said Wolfpack coach Kelly Findley, singling out senior defender Matt Ingram and sophomore midfielder Yanni Hachem, who were making their first starts of the season. “We had some guys step up in spots.”
Ingram had been a starter as a freshman and sophomore before moving into a reserve role the past two seasons.
“It’s something you have to get used to,” Ingram said of not starting. “You have to put yourself aside and be ready to support the team.”
As recently as a year ago, five missing players would have been a recipe for disaster. “No question,” Findley said. “A year ago I don’t think we would have weathered their little storm in the second half.”
N.C. State outshot the Cougars 16-8, and McCauley registered three saves.
Surkamp got the Wolfpack on the scoreboard at the 25-minute, 12-second mark with his team-leading third goal of the season. Goalkeeper Brian Kilgallon, who made seven saves, stopped Roland Minogue’s close-range shot but couldn’t hold onto the rebound. Surkamp was there at the far post to knock in the loose ball.
“It’s one of the things coach Findley really drills us on,” said Surkamp, a redshirt senior forward. “Be first the one to the goal, at either end.”
“Scoring goals is his job,” Findley said. “Forwards can score a lot of goals by being in the right place at the right time.”
The insurance goal also came about because of Surkamp’s hustle. With time winding down, Ingram played a long ball that Surkamp was able to run down against a College of Charleston defender. He touched it ahead, where Knudson won a 50-50 ball with Kilgallon. Knudson easily put the ball into the open net for his second goal of the season, at 88:09.
“I saw the ball over the top over my shoulder,” Surkamp said. “I one-timed it to Zach, and he did a great job to get it in the goal.”
“Nick does a lot of things off the ball that you don’t see,” Findley said. “He’s a goal-scorer, but he’ll be just as happy with the assist.”