CARY — On Sunday night at WakeMed Soccer Park, elation turned to despair in a matter of seconds for UNC-Wilmington fans in the second round of the men’s soccer NCAA Tournament.
One moment, the Seahawks (12-8) had a shot on goal and looked like they might be building momentum to take a 1-0 edge over North Carolina (15-3-1) early in the second half. Then, there was only silence.
As UNC forward Zach Wright raced down the right sideline, he saw his teammate Jelani Pieters racing toward the box. With a flick of his leg, Wright delivered a hard ground cross to the forward. The ball found the redshirt sophomore’s foot, and just like that, UNC had taken a 1-0 lead in the 53rd minute.
The large UNC-W contingent fell silent as cheers went up from those supporting the Tar Heels. Not only had Pieters just connected on his eighth goal of the season, but he had scored his eighth point in his last five matches.
“I think the result is more important than the goal or assists” Pieters said. “I will do what I need to get the result at the end of the day."