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The Daily Tar Heel

Men’s soccer mistakes lead to second loss of season


Saturday was Charlie Rugg’s lucky day.

On two separate occasions during Saturday’s 2-1 loss, UNC defenders made mental gaffes that led to Boston College striker Rugg getting the ball one-on-one with goalie Brooks Haggerty.

He didn’t miss, either.

For a team that is beset by injuries — Jordan Graye is the only starter on the backline who was projected to start at the beginning of the season — the UNC defense has usually been solid.

But on Saturday, Drew McKinney and Daniel Tannous both allowed goals because of lackadaisical play on the backline.

“It’s frustrating,” coach Elmar Bolowich said. “Even at halftime, I felt we could win that game.”

On the season, the Tar Heels are allowing a stingy 0.69 goals per game, despite missing 26 starts from their projected starters.

“Obviously, it only takes three seconds for something like that to happen. Then it happens, and you can’t do anything about it,” defender Brett King said.

And the two errors were ugly.

In the 14th minute, Tannous misjudged a ball that bounced over his head, straight to Rugg. He calmly deposited the ball to the far side for a goal.

Rugg was on the receiving end of another UNC gaffe in the 25th minute. McKinney attempted to clear a pass, but it went just under McKinney’s boot. McKinney swung and missed, and then fell over.

“I think (the defense is) still in good shape,” Bolowich said.

“We were making the play, and they scored the goals — but still it was two lapses that led to those goals for Boston College.”

Even though the Tar Heels are playing mostly backups, they have still been able to shut down opponents. They plug in whoever’s next on the depth chart, and the replacements go out and do much the same thing that the last guy did.

“That’s what our coach preaches: Everyone is always ready to come on whenever called upon,” Graye said. “It’s no surprise to me that the guys who weren’t projected to start have come in right away and helped us to be one of the best teams in the country.”

The loss is the second for UNC on the season, but they are still behind only Maryland in the ACC standings.

“As much as I want to congratulate BC on the win and give them credit, I feel like we are to blame for those errors that happened, and there’s no excuse for that,” Graye said. “I congratulate BC, but it is our fault we lost this game.”

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