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Duke men's soccer looks to snap losing skid against North Carolina

<p>Scottie Taylor hasn't been much of a factor in recent games, but will need to make his presence felt in order to get the Duke offense back on track.</p>

Scottie Taylor hasn't been much of a factor in recent games, but will need to make his presence felt in order to get the Duke offense back on track.

How is Duke going to fix its scoring woes?

“That’s a great question.”

Even head coach John Kerr is concerned by the Blue Devil lack of offense. And with a primetime matchup Friday night in Chapel Hill against the 14th-ranked Tar Heels, his concern is accompanied by a sense of urgency.

“[Scoring is] a topic that we’ve been discussing all week, trying to get more numbers in dangerous areas," Kerr said. "We’ve had a couple of opportunities in every game we’ve played in, but we haven’t had enough numbers to cause our opponents as much stress as we need to.”

Duke (4-3, 0-2 in the ACC) will be hoping to stave off returning to a .500 record, a mark that seemed impossible when the Blue Devils were 4-0 less than three weeks ago. A recent skid—including a -6 goal differential in their last three games—has Duke unranked for the first time all year. 

North Carolina (4-1-2, 2-0 ACC) has had the opposite experience, winning neither of their first two games, but winning or tying their past five, a streak during which they have allowed just one goal.

“It’s going to be be a tough game, they’re obviously very good and we have our hands full with their attackers [and] their strong defending," Kerr said. "Hopefully, we can possess the ball better against them than we have in the past, and I think that’s the key to the game.”

The Blue Devils could certainly use a win here. A loss would make them 0-3 in ACC play and 0-4 against ranked teams, almost certainly taking them out of ACC championship contention. Fortunately, their schedule gets much lighter after the Tar Heels, with just one ranked opponent among their next eight.

“I’m not looking anywhere [past] the UNC game on Friday, so you can describe it as a relaxed schedule, potentially, but every game is difficult,” Kerr said.

It’s been a little too difficult for Duke as of late.

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