On August 26th, North Carolina men’s soccer experienced an agonizing spell of déjà vu. As was the case in last season’s National Semifinal, they found themselves confronted with the rock-solid defense of the Indiana Hoosiers and, as was the case last year, the previously high-scoring Tar Heels were unable to penetrate the Hoosier resistance. The final score yet again: Indiana- 1, UNC- 0. There was no revenge to be had, and the Tar Heels dropped out of the Top 10 in this young 2018 season.
Since then, Carlos Samoano’s squad has recovered its scoring touch. They have scored 8 goals in their last two matches, having faced William and Mary, and, on Monday, against Jacksonville. Their season average now sits at 2.25 goals per game, not including the four goals scored in both of their exhibition matches. This resurgence comes not a moment too soon: ACC play begins on Saturday when Pittsburgh ventures south to play Carolina (in Durham, of all places).
While it’s still early, it sure looks like this year’s Heels will be as good as advertised: Maurio Pineda and Giovani Montesdeoca have led the way offensively, tallying two goals apiece and two and one assists respectively. Senior Nils Bruenig got in on the action in the Tar Heels’ 6-1 romp over William and Mary last week, scoring two goals of his own, and Alex Rose and Jelani Pieters (a scoring stud through most of last year) have added two and one, respectively.
On defense, senior captain Alex Comsia has led the way, while fellow senior James Pyle has solidified his position as the team’s clear No. 1 (a distinction that was in doubt at times last season). Carolina has only conceded two goals in four games and three in all competitions.
Last week’s loss to the Hoosiers was a setback, but last season was last season and non-conference is now in the rear window. The Tar Heels have ACC business to attend to.
Carolina will play Pitt at 7:00 PM ET on Saturday night at Koskinen Stadium in Durham. The game can be viewed on ACC Network Extra.
_This article previously stated that the game was on Wednesday night due to a scheduling misunderstanding. Sorry for the error._