RALEIGH – Rewind back to last Friday, when NC State midfielder Julius Duchscherer scored the fastest goal in program history, which came at the 00:14 mark against UNC Asheville in the first half to lead his squad to beat the bulldogs 3-0. Riding this high only added to the tensions and emotions Friday evening during a stellar defensive match for NC State Soccer against in-state rival UNC Chapel Hill.
Although the Wolfpack lost the game at WakeMed Soccer Park, they held the #5 seed UNC to a 1-0 game in this adrenaline pumping competition that left both UNC and NC State fans on the edge of their seats. Tarheel midfielder Cam Lindley, with 3 shots and 1 shot on goal, had the only goal scored, which came on a controversial call leading to a penalty kick at the 39:26 mark in the first half.
The Wolfpack implored an aggressive and all out approach in their man-to-man defense. With the ball remaining in the Tarheels’ possession for the majority of the competition, the Wolfpack continued to pressure on defense leading to 7 UNC fouls, 2 in the first half and 5 in the second, and one yellow card on midfielder Jack Skahan.
NC State racked up 9 total fouls, 2 in the first half and 7 in the second. 4 yellow cards were dished out to the Pack including midfielder David Norris, midfielder David Loera, forward Clayton Sparks, and the NC State bench. A red card was also given to the NC State bench at the 40-minute mark of the first half. After a long history between these two teams, fans on both sides alike knew they were in for an intense game of soccer between two long-standing Carolina rivals.
The sounds of “ooh’s” and “aah’s” filled WakeMed Soccer Park each time the Wolfpack would go on a run down the field. NC State’s attacking defensive approach held UNC steady at only 5 shots on goal, limiting four players to get this nod while NC State racked up only 3 shots on goal amongst Wolfpack standouts Manny Perez and Julius Duchscherer.
Freshman midfielder Perez has proven that he deserves to be a part of the starting lineup for Wolfpack soccer and NC State soccer fans learned that quickly. Leading the squad with 3 goals, boasting a .333 shooting percentage and with 9 shots, the rising superstar was more lackluster than we are used to seeing. Tarheels defense contained Perez well, limiting him to only 2 shots on goal for the evening.
Midfielder Duchscherer with 2 goals, a .200 shooting percentage, and with 10 shots, earned the recognition of scoring the fastest goal in Wolfpack Soccer history against UNC Asheville at the 00:14 mark of the first half, and was the only other contributor for shots on goal for the Pack this evening. After a tough loss against the #5 seeded Tarheels and rival, Wolfpack head coach George Kiefer says of their ACC schedule “those are the games you love to play. … Every game you learn something and they’re great matches for us.”
With matches on the horizon against ranked teams #21 Syracuse, #10 Virginia, #15 UNC Wilmington and #8 Louisville, Kiefer says bring it on: “You’re playing the best teams in the country week in and week out. That’s the type of play we want here, that’s the group that we have here now, those are the things that you [get when you] come to the ACC.”