“It was tough,” coach Carlos Somoano said. “They had 10 guys 20, 25 yards away from their goal and left then one guy up. It’s really hard to get through especially when, I think, we played a little bit tired tonight.”
The match with UNC-A was UNC’s second straight overtime game after playing Duke to a 2-2 tie Friday night.
The Bulldogs took the lead 11 minutes into the second half on a bomb from Bryan Bartels. Bartels was leading the counterattack all alone and encountered three UNC defenders a long way from the goal. Before they could step to the ball, Bartels had already let one fire.
UNC goalkeeper Scott Goodwin made a dive at the shot, but it dipped underneath his left hand and hit the back netting.
“We have to cut that out before he even gets the ball,” Somoano said. “That was a big mistake on our defense’s part … He should never be able to receive the ball and turn and run at us.”
UNC earned an equalizer in the 75th minute when Kirk Urso sent the ball into the box from a corner kick, where it was then batted around before Billy Schuler collected it off a bounce and blasted it past Hurskainen. The score was tied 1-1 through the end of regulation.
In the scoreless first half, UNC outshot UNC-A 12-3. Hurskainen recorded seven saves, but most of those shots were hit right at him.
In fact, Hurskainen didn’t get his neon-yellow jersey dirty until almost 40 minutes into the game when he made a full sprawling dive to his left to keep an Urso shot out of the net. Hurskainen finished the game with 15 saves.
“I saw him make a lot of great saves today,” midfielder Enzo Martinez said. “He did very well, but there were a lot of off-target shots. I don’t think we were shooting bad, it was just one of those days where it won’t go for you.”
Down the stretch, Somoano looked to his bench to help penetrate the tight Bulldog back line, and it paid off. Substitutes Glen Long and Josh Rice came in and made an impact on the game immediately, and Rice registered three shots on goal.
“(Rice and Long) gave us a spark. They created some things for us,” Somoano said. “They were just a little bit cleaner, their legs were fresh. Our bench really helped us out tonight.”
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