While most women’s soccer fans are familiar with last year’s Hermann Trophy winner Crystal Dunn and U-20 final heroine Kealia Ohai, both of the University of North Carolina, there’s another senior on a different Tobacco Road team that fans should know — Wake Forest’s Katie Stengel.
In her three-plus seasons at Wake Forest, Stengel has compiled an impressive list of accomplishments. In her freshman year she set single-year school records for goals and total points, 16 and 37 respectively. The next year Stengel broke her own records, notching 19 goals and 47 total points. Her freshman and sophomore campaigns put her in elite company as she became the first player since Mia Hamm, in 1992-93, to lead the ACC in goals in two consecutive years.
Last week Stengel became the first player in Wake Forest history to score 50 goals. She did this despite missing eight games last season playing with the U-20 World Cup team.
“It was awesome, especially because we got a big win against Duke,” Stengel commented on scoring her 50th goal. “It’s always good to score a goal and against such a great team is even better.”
“If you look at our winning percentage over the last three-and-a-half years I think you see a dramatic increase over the previous four years before she got here,” Wake Forest head coach Tony da Luz said of Stengel’s impact on the team. “(She’s) someone that we can depend on to perform and be dangerous and take a lot of the pressure off some of our other players.”
Stengel’s impact on the Demon Deacons isn’t limited to the field. “She sets a great work ethic in training, for our group to follow and her standards are high so it kind of pushes off to the rest of the team and the team culture,” da Luz added.
Stengel is one of those rare forwards that’s able to do it all. What she’s probably most known for is her ability to turn defenders. Stengel’s play has certainly earned the respect of her opponents.
“She’s arguably the most talented player in the country as far as attack goes. She’s good on the dribble, she’s good in the box, she can shoot from distance,” Maryland head coach Jonathan Morgan commented after his team’s 1-0 victory over Wake Forest.
Every time Stengel touches the ball, she’s flanked by a pair of defenders. As a result, Stengel has learned to find her open teammates. She currently has more assists (7) than goals (6) for the year.
As she looks to wrap up her college career, Stengel lists her major goal as winning the national championship, adding that she’d like to pick up the ACC Championship along the way. Stengel accomplished that second goal once before in 2010. She also led the Demon Deacons to the 2011 College Cup semifinals for the first time in school history.
Regardless of how the season ends, Stengel will already go down as one of the most decorated players in ACC history.
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