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Senior Shriver striking true for UNC offense

Brian Shriver
Senior Brian Shriver has galvanized North Carolina?s offense this year" leading the ACC in goals as UNC heads into a game against No. 1 WFU.

For four years North Carolina men's soccer player Brian Shriver played forward. He tallied an array of goals assists and awards ranging from All-State to All-America.

Thing was all these achievements occurred at Clearwater High School in Florida.

Because when he arrived in Chapel Hill the Sunshine State native moved to the midfielder slot — a position he's held for the past two years.

Although Shriver played sparingly at forward during this time" it took until this past offseason for head coach Elmar Bolowich to transition him back to striker.

""I wasn't taking my chances" and I never felt like I was playing up to the way I could" Shriver said of his time in the midfield.

I feel more comfortable going forward and making runs off the ball. I have a lot more confidence than I did last year because I feel like it's my natural position.""

It sure seems like it.

With two games left in the regular season"" Shriver leads the ACC in both goals (13) and points (28).

Not to mention that four of those goals have been game-winners.

Not too shabby for a guy who only accumulated two goals last season.

""I've put myself in better opportunities and I've been fortunate to convert" Shriver said. Sometimes you get that feeling where everything is clicking for you. You just have total confidence. You have no worries you just go for it. If you miss you miss" oh well.""

Still" both Bolowich and assistant coach Jeff Negalha think there's more than just luck to Shriver's scoring outbreak.

For starters he has extreme quickness and can get a touch on a stray ball before most opponents.

Secondly when he's not in possession of the ball he moves or makes runs to create space for himself and for teammates.

Finally — and most importantly is his ability to shoot the ball.

Unlike most soccer players Shriver hits the ball in a unique position between his toe and instep. As Negalha likes to say he's clipping the ball.

To do so Shriver gets on the outside of the ball and hits a more finessed shot with his instep.

Contrary to power shooting which uses solid contact with the sweet spot of the shoelaces Shriver's unique stroke creates a shot that bends away from the goalkeeper.

With Shriver's rapid shot release" he is still able to create the power that traditional kicking creates.

""I mean he can really hit a ball" Negalha said. For a goalkeeper it's pretty dangerous when that ball is coming at you and then all of sudden getting away from you. It takes off" and I mean what are you going to do about it?""

With matches remaining against No.1 Wake Forest and No.5 Maryland"" Shriver will be counted on to create shots in what could be two highly contested matches.

Not that he seems concerned.

""If it's close I always want the ball. To be a forward you have to have that mentality" and for me absolutely I want the ball he said.

And his coaches couldn't agree more.

He does make that impact Bolowich said. He's an absolutely valuable player for us right now. He's the kind of guy who even late in the game can find that one run to make" that one shot to take that can make a difference.

""I don't think (pressure) has an effect on him.""

FOLLOW THE GAME
Time: 7 p.m. Saturday
Location: Fetzer Field
Info: View on Gametracker; www.tarheelblue.com

Contact the Sports Editor at sports@unc.edu.


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