The leading scorer for the No. 2-ranked North Carolina men’s team might surprise soccer observers. It’s Tucker Hume, a redshirt junior transfer from Rollins College who averages 32 minutes off the bench per game yet has posted four goals and an assist in seven matches.
The 6-foot-5 Hume has proven valuable as a target player on setpieces because of his height, but against then-No. 2 Notre Dame on Friday he showed off some fancy footwork in unbeaten UNC’s 4-2 victory.
With the seconds counting down in the first half, Hume took a throw-in from Colton Storm, whirled toward the goal and got off a low shot from 19 yards that found the far corner of the net, breaking a 1-1 tie. The goal officially was credited at 44:57, but it appeared to come closer to one second left in the half.
“I saw we were trying to speed it up,” Hume recalled. “I knew I didn’t have a lot of time, so I turned and shot at the goal.”
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It marked the third time this season UNC has scored in the final five seconds of the first half. But drill down a little deeper, and UNC has struck for a goal in the final five minutes of the half five times, an interval when substitutes are usually on the field in many of the attacking positions.
Three of Hume’s goals have come in that span, and he has embraced his supersub role, saying he studies teams’ tendencies before he enters a match and works to keep himself mentally ready.
“I’m just trying to watch on the sideline, see how they play the forwards,” he explained, “if they’re stepping to them or backing off.”
He got his fourth goal Monday night, breaking a 1-1 tie in the 83rd minute to beat North Florida 2-1.
Before this season, UNC fans might have been more familiar with Hume’s twin brother Walker, a starting defender last season for the Tar Heels. Walker is sitting out this season after suffering a broken left foot during the summer.
Scoreless duel: Florida State coach Mark Krikorian paid the Duke women’s team a big compliment with his strategy in Sunday’s 0-0 tie with the Blue Devils.
Shorthanded because five of his international players were away playing for their home countries in various competitions, Krikorian opted for an overtly defensive posture, with nine field players behind the ball. Duke outshot FSU 25-8 but had two great opportunities turned away on saves by Seminoles goalkeeper Cassie Miller, who recorded six overall. She stopped point-blank attempts by freshmen Taylor Racioppi in the second minute and Kayla McCoy in the second overtime.
Duke coach Robbie was pleased with his team’s effort.
“They (FSU) are the defending national champions, ranked No. 2 in the country and an absolutely fantastic program,” Church said.
“I think (FSU) showed us a lot of respect. They played a 4-5-1, set deep. That’s a sign of respect for where our program is.”
And yet, Church couldn’t resist a bit of wistfulness over what might have been. “Not too many teams will take points away from Florida State,” he said. “When you have an opportunity like that, you have to get three points (in the standings).”
USWNT update: After the U.S. Women’s National Team routed Haiti twice last week on its post-World Cup Victory Tour, it appears that former UNC standout Crystal Dunn has solidified a berth on the Olympic Games roster next year.
The U.S. posted a 5-0 victory at Detroit last Thursday and followed up with an 8-0 vanquishing Sunday at Birmingham, Ala.
Dunn, one of seven former Tar Heels on the U.S. roster, played all 90 minutes in both matches at outside midfield and scored a goal in each, her first as a national team member. She also had two assists in the first game on pinpoint crosses and generally looked comfortable with the attack flowing through her side in the absence of opposite midfielder Megan Rapinoe, who sat out with an injury.
For the final 30 minutes of the first Haiti match, there were five former Tar Heels on the field at the same time – Dunn, midfielders Heather O’Reilly and Tobin Heath, defender Meghan Klingenberg, and goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris.
Whitney Engen subbed into the second Haiti match, but Lori Chalupny, the seventh former UNC player, did not see action against Haiti.
O’Reilly scored her fifth goal of the tour in the second Haiti match as she continues to generate offense after a lack of playing time in the World Cup. Heath got a tryout as a holding midfielder in the first Haiti match, pairing with Morgan Brian, but looked uncertain at times. That’s a key position for coach Jill Ellis to fill following the announced retirement of Lauren Holiday.
Heath was supposed to wear the captain’s armband in the second Haiti match in honor of her 100th cap, but an ankle injury kept her out of action.
The Victory Tour continues with matches against Brazil on Oct. 21 in Seattle and Oct. 25 in Orlando, Fla.
Triangle game of the week: For the men it’s Duke (4-2-1, 0-1-1 ACC) at No. 2 UNC (6-0-1, 2-0) at 7 p.m. Friday. It will be Duke’s third consecutive ACC opponent ranked in the top 10. On the women’s side it’s No. 19 Duke (6-2-2, 0-0-1) at No. 1 Virginia (7-0-1, 1-0) at 2 p.m. Sunday.