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The Daily Tar Heel

Freshmen Boost Tar Heels' Weekend

Three freshmen contributed points in UNC's 7-0 victory against Georgia State in the Adidas/Spartan Classic.

A group of raw, talented freshmen have answered those questions.

"We know we can do the job, so we're just trying to score the goals we need," said freshman forward Marcus Storey.

At the the Adidas/Spartan Classic on Friday, Storey notched a hat trick against Georgia State in a 7-0 victory, raising his season marks to seven goals (two of which were game-winning) and four assists.

Also in Friday's match, freshmen Raymond Fumo and Jonathan Davis each had an assist, and Davis scored his second goal of the season in a 5-0 win against South Florida on Sunday.

Another freshman, Tim Merritt, also has seen significant minutes coming off the bench and playing midfield.

During the weekend, all four freshmen played on the field together for most of the game, although only Storey started.

Bolowich said the young players are responding well to this trial by fire. In the process, he has asked his freshmen to grow up -- quickly.

"With the caliber of teams we are playing (at) about midseason, you don't want them to be freshmen anymore," Bolowich said.

"You want them already to be integrated. You want them to make the transition. I think in that regard they're getting better and better."

It would seem that being asked to score goals, win games and mature ahead of time would place pressure on the young players' shoulders, but Bolowich downplayed that possibility.

Instead of pressure, he said his players face responsibility.

"That is what they're here for," Bolowich said. "That shouldn't be pressure. That is expectation."

Davis said he and the other freshmen are feeling some heat from their coach.

"Elmar's a real straight-up guy," Davis said. "He lets us know if we don't score goals, we're not going to win."

But Davis added that Bolowich has encouraged the freshmen to be aggressive. They also have received support from upperclassmen on the team.

Senior goalkeeper Michael Ueltschey said the play of the freshmen has taken pressure off of the defense, which, at the beginning of the season, looked like it was going to have to carry the team.

"We weren't thinking the offense was going to be nearly as good as they are, and they're flat out producing and getting better every game," Ueltschey said. "You can look at this weekend as the results of how well our offense is doing."

While they are supportive of the freshmen, Ueltschey said the upperclassmen have put on some pressure of their own, especially at practices.

He described their training as intense, with the hope that it will toughen the freshmen and help them transition to Division I soccer.

Davis said the challenges have brought the freshmen together.

"We all want to make each other look good," Davis said. "Even though the whole team is on the field, our main focus is if we make each other look good now, it's going to pay off in the years to come."

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The Sports Editor can be reached at sports@unc.edu.