What a way to get back on track.
After a brutal 1-0 loss to No. 6 Indiana, the 12th-ranked North Carolina men’s soccer team (2-1) bounced back in decisive fashion on Friday with a 6-1 win at William & Mary (1-2).
The North Carolina attack was the picture of composure throughout, playing within themselves and spreading the ball around freely.
Junior Mauricio Pineda opened scoring in the 15th minute with a goal inside the box to put the Tar Heels ahead. Moments later, two free kicks finished off by senior Nils Bruening would give North Carolina a 3-0 cushion at the half: the first, a graceful header inside the box in the 21st minute; the second, a laser of an upper 90 volley in the 32nd minute. Bruening’s versatility and ball skills were on full display with the pair of goals, his first two of the year. In fact, every Tar Heel goal was provided by a player who hadn’t yet scored this season.
The second half proved to be more of the same for North Carolina. Sophomore Giovanni Montesdeoca found the back of the net in the 59th minute, thanks in no small part to a gorgeous through ball from junior Jeremy Kelly. After a William & Mary goal in the 80th minute to cut the deficit to three, Montesdeoca wasted no time in answering with a slick goal of his own in the 81st minute. Then, just 22 seconds later, sophomore Alex Rose scored effortlessly on a setup from a teammate, bringing an eventful six-goal evening for the Tar Heels to an end.
Who stood out?
While UNC's offensive explosion is the headline of the night, the Tar Heel defense shined as well. Anchored by backs Pineda, Alex Comsia, John Nelson and Mark Salas, UNC stifled the Tribe attack all evening, cutting off passing lanes and keeping pressure at a constant high. It showed in the scorebook: UNC attempted 15 shots in the match, nine of which were on goal, while William & Mary managed a meager three shot attempts, one on goal.
When was it decided?
This one was over early. A flurry of goals from Pineda and Bruening put the Tar Heels up 3-0 by just the 32nd minute, and they never looked back. William & Mary showed a flicker of life with a goal in the 80th minute, but UNC soon put any hope the Tribe may have earned to rest with back-to-back goals in the 80th minute.
Why does it matter?
After a closely contested but frustrating loss to Indiana, it was undoubtedly a good feeling for the Tar Heels to let loose a bevy of goals early in the season. The win will be a catalyst for momentum as the team continues its season-long march toward the NCAA tournament.
When do they play next?
North Carolina returns to action Monday at 7 p.m. against Jacksonville at Koskinen Stadium in Durham.
@DTHSports | email@example.com
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.