The No. 3 North Carolina men’s soccer team opened its 2018 season on Friday night with a 1-0 win over East Tennessee State University in Greensboro.
The Tar Heels (1-0) had some goal-scoring opportunities early on, despite a zero filling up the stat sheet in the first half. In the ninth minute, junior forward Jelani Pieters had back-to-back opportunities at the net, but he was unable to finish on either attempt.
Beyond Pieters’ chances, neither side threatened much in the first half. North Carolina only recorded three more shots throughout the period, and ETSU (0-1) only had one shot for the entire 45 minutes.
But the Tar Heels came out firing in the second half. After one missed opportunity in the 49th minute, UNC drew a corner kick in the 51st minute. Senior midfielder Nils Bruening got his head on the delivered ball, but it sailed over the post.
After a series of shots by ETSU, UNC finally broke through in the 80th minute. Pieters buried a header on a pass from midfielder Mauricio Pineda, giving the Tar Heels a 1-0 advantage. On the night, UNC outshot its opponent by a margin of 10 to seven, with four shots on goal compared to just two from the Buccaneers.