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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC men's soccer earns redemption in comeback win over Duke

The sophomore forward whiffed on a header in front of UNC’s net earlier in the game, allowing Duke to score first on a header of its own in the 64th minute during the Tar Heels’ 2-1 win at Koskinen Stadium on Friday.

“I really wanted to make up for it,” Bruening said. “I give my best every time, but that was an extra motivation for me.”

He came back during the 70th minute to score the goal that tied the game. Redshirt senior defender Walker Hume took the ball in the right corner of the box and passed it to first-year midfielder Jeremy Kelly, who then set up a header for Bruening.

This time, Bruening didn’t whiff it — scoring his seventh goal of the season and knotting the score at one.

“You always have a feeling as where the ball’s going to land,” he said. “It was a great cross by Jeremy; it was in a sweet place.”

With Bruening’s goal, the Tar Heels wrestled the momentum away from Duke. Twelve minutes later, it was Zach Wright’s turn to put the Blue Devils away.

“I saw Nils do it, and once he did that, I felt that we’re going to win this game for sure now,” Wright said.

In the 82nd minute, the junior forward received the ball in the middle of the field, took on multiple defenders on his own and rocketed the ball into the back of the net from 20 feet away. The goal was his fifth of the season and put the Tar Heels up for good.

“When (redshirt senior forward Tucker Hume) pulled away, and I saw the defender move, I was like, ‘Oh, I can take this in myself,” Wright said.

While making the run, all he could think about was what one of his teammates — redshirt junior midfielder Drew Murphy — said before the game.

“He told me, ‘These guys, if you just run at them full pace, they won’t be able to stay with you,’” Wright said.

“I just started running at them, but Tuck made a run and opened up the space for me. And I just took a shot.”

Head Coach Carlos Somoano has talked to his team about this scenario before.

He emphasizes to his younger players that they shouldn’t let the opponent’s early scoring throw off their mental game. And on Friday, it didn’t.

“It doesn’t matter if we score in the first minute or last minute, or how you do it,” Somoano said. “But as long as you finish the game with one more than the opponent... It can maybe hit the panic button or get frustrated, so I think that’s where a lot of teams will make a mistake.

“I give our guys a lot of credit for just sticking to their guns and staying (focused) on what we’re trying to do. We were able to get the goals, too.”


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