Leading the way for the Tar Heels were a number of first-years, who took the field by storm in UNC's last nonconference home game of the season.
One of the first-years who stood out Tuesday night was defender Mauricio Pineda, who scored a hat trick — his first of the season — in the Tar Heels' win.
“It feels good,” Pineda said. “(The goals) come pretty easy, I mean it’s my position, tapping in goals. My teammates call them ‘tap-ins’ and I seem to get a lot of those. I’m just glad to get it in the back of the net and help my team."
Pineda was part of UNC's No. 1 2016 recruiting class. And while he has played well for the team, it has taken him a while to adjust to the college game.
“It is a lot more physical, I feel like that is a big part," he said. "It’s just a lot faster, everything’s a lot faster. It’s just a higher level, a higher level of physicality. It’s just a lot better.”
Just 10 minutes after being subbed into the game, Pineda scored his second goal of the season off an assist from Walker Hume and Colton Storm.
Later in the first half, Pineda scored again — knocking in one of his famous "tap-ins" — for his third goal of the season. And then, in the 82nd minute, he tallied another for his first career hat trick.
“Mauricio is a solid player for us and has matured a lot as a player from when he got here in August," Walker Hume said. "It’s good to see his progress and when his name is called, he always steps up for us in the right moments. He’s a solid player for this team.”