UNC (3-0) came into the match with two 3-0 victories over Cal Poly and Saint Louis. But the contest against VCU (0-3) had a different feel.
Redshirt senior Walker Hume got the Tar Heels off to a hot start, burying a header off redshirt senior Nico Melo’s corner kick in the fifth minute of the match.
After the quick start, the Tar Heels were complacent. The first big mistake by North Carolina came on a bad tackle in the box that gave VCU a penalty kick in the 19th minute. The Rams’ Dakota Barnathan placed the ball the back of the net to tie the game at 1-1.
Less than a minute later, VCU was awarded a free kick in deadly territory after first-year defender Mauricio Pineda was booked with a yellow card. The Rams did not waste their opportunity, as Jorge Herranz sent in a gorgeous ball to Lyndsey Moreland, who promptly blasted it past redshirt sophomore goalkeeper James Pyle to give VCU a 2-1 lead.
“Our intensity in general has to be better,” Coach Carlos Somoano said. “I think last weekend came a little too easy for us. We scored five minutes into the game and I think the natural thought was that we were just going to roll.”
The quick run by the Rams woke up UNC, and the teams went back and forth. An intense 10-minute stretch was capped off with a goal in the 31st minute by North Carolina’s super-sub Tucker Hume. A slick pass by junior forward Zach Wright set up the redshirt senior to tie the game at two apiece.
The goal gave the Tar Heels some momentum going into halftime and a chance to calm back down and reassess the defense.
“Going into the second half, we just had to go out there and raise our level,” Tucker Hume said.