Following Duke’s bounce-back 3-1 victory against Pittsburgh Friday, the Blue Devils have a chance to build on their momentum as they look to topple one of the best teams in the nation.

No. 14 Duke will take on No. 5 North Carolina at Koskinen Stadium at 7 p.m. Tuesday night in a matchup that was originally scheduled for mid-September but was postponed due to Hurricane Florence. Rescheduling a game, especially a rivalry match between two ranked teams, could throw off a team’s weekly preparation, but Blue Devil head coach John Kerr insists that the team will not look to the rescheduling as an excuse for a poor performance Tuesday.

“It’s the same…for every team,” Kerr said. “Everyone’s dealing with the same issues, so it’s fine. It’s going to make it very interesting, but it’ll be the most attended Tuesday night game we’ve had all season, so it’ll be fun.”

Against the Panthers Friday night, Duke was able to shake off the attacking inefficiency that plagued the team in the past, including a 1-0 defeat to High Point last week when the Blue Devils could not convert despite taking 20 shots. Although Kerr's squad only managed eight shots against Pittsburgh, it converted all three of its shots on target into goals through freshman Issa Rayyan and juniors Max Moser and Nicolas Macri in the first half. In the second half, the Panthers began to claw back, but Duke was able to reassert itself, closing out the match for a 3-1 win.

The Blue Devils (9-4-1, 4-2-0 in the ACC) won’t be able to afford any lapses in concentration as they take on the Tar Heels. North Carolina is coming off a 2-0 win at Boston College, adding to its impressive count of 25 goals this season, and its attack will pose problems for Duke’s defense.

“They’re very talented,” Kerr warned. “They move the ball extremely fast and they have good runs off the ball, so we’ll have to be alert to anything and everything they present us, and they’re going to present us a handful on Tuesday night.”

North Carolina (11-2-1, 5-1-0) boasts four players with impressive figures this season. Sophomore Giovanni Montesdeoca and senior Nils Bruening have scored six goals apiece, while juniors Jack Skahan and Mauricio Pineda have added five and four goals, respectively. Montesdeoca and Pineda have each added four assists as well.

That could spell disaster for the Blue Devils, who have recently struggled to keep opponents from scoring and haven't maintained a clean sheet for the past three matches. On the other hand, the Tar Heels have shown that they can attack with ferocious intensity with a dominant 6-1 win at William and Mary and a 4-0 beatdown of Winthrop. Kerr is pushing his team to minimize North Carolina’s opportunities at goal.

“We just have to make sure that we’re organized and we’re able to maintain better pressure on the ball than we were tonight,” Kerr said after Friday’s match. “If we continue to give the ball away too much, they’re going to make us pay, so that’s going to be one of the concentrations in Sunday and Monday’s training.”

While the Blue Devils were able to convert their attempts on goal against Pittsburgh, the attack will have to be as efficient as ever to ensure a positive result against the Tar Heels. Led by junior Daniele Proch, who is tied for ninth in scoring across the NCAA with 11 goals this season, Duke’s attack is able to create many chances on target but has been inconsistent in finishing them. The Blue Devils have scored as many as four goals multiple times this season but have also failed to find the back of the net against lesser opposition on occasion.

On Tuesday, Duke’s defense will be tasked with dealing with the opportunistic North Carolina attack, while the offense will look to overcome past inconsistencies in order to deliver a victory that would be critical for the Blue Devils' hopes of high seeding in the upcoming ACC and NCAA tournaments.

After taking on the Tar Heels, Duke will travel to face Virginia Tech at Thompson Field at 7 p.m. in the regular-season finale.