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The Daily Tar Heel

Defensive squad leads UNC men's soccer to shut out Pitt 1-0

The defensive squad of four is finally playing together, and UNC is starting to reap the rewards.

This is the first season that Coach Carlos Somoano has been able to start redshirt sophomore goalkeeper James Pyle, senior defender Colton Storm, sophomore defender Alex Comsia and redshirt senior defender Walker Hume on the field together. And Friday's 1-0 win over Pittsburgh showed how the four can combine to dominate.

“They make it really easy," said Pyle, who redshirted in 2014. "Especially Captain Colton, who's always had my back and been there since I wasn’t even the starter, and Walker and Alex too.

"We always push each other and let each other know that if we mess up, the other one has the other's back.”

Continuity is the key to success at the back of any defense. And despite a couple of early bumps in the road, the Tar Heels seem to be finding their rhythm — as the defense held Pittsburgh to three shots on Friday. 

After redshirting with an injury in 2015, Hume has become the missing piece the defense needed. But he's been an offensive presence as well, scoring the game winner against the Panthers.

“We just played our position tonight," Somoano said after the game. "That always helps too. Play your position, do your job and trust the guy next to you. That’s what made the difference.”

The performance comes after the team suffered an embarrassment at home, falling to East Tennessee State after a lapse in defense allowed an overtime goal.

But the Tar Heels showcased their defensive potential in Friday's victory.

“I think it’s gone progressively better throughout the year,” Pyle said. “Always it’s going to start a little slow, but the guys gelled quickly on and off the field, and I think that helps a lot.” 

North Carolina was looking to show that the defense was capable of carrying the team to a victory. And UNC certainly proved that against Pittsburgh.

“After our last performance giving up that goal, we take pride in our defending. So getting that shutout was big for us," Hume said.

“With the three of us working together — me, Alex and Colton back there with James — it’s a good chemistry. So I think that clean sheet was positive for us going forward.”


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