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The Daily Tar Heel

Inconsistencies show for UNC men's soccer in first loss of season

But sometimes, the Tar Heels don’t. And Tuesday’s matchup against East Tennessee State University was one of those games.

Following a dramatic victory over then-No. 2 Clemson on Friday, UNC (4-1) came into Tuesday’s game against ETSU (3-2) looking to go 5-0 for the team’s best start since 1987. But North Carolina didn’t make history, instead losing to the Buccaneers 1-0 in extra time.

“It’s definitely not something that you want to follow up a big win over Clemson away, to lose on our home field,” said redshirt sophomore goalkeeper James Pyle. “It’s something that didn’t happen last year in the regular season.”

Despite taking more shots than ETSU and holding onto the ball for the majority of the game, the Tar Heels never put it all together to score.

But for the Tar Heels, the most frustrating part about this loss isn’t missed shots — it’s that they know how good they are capable of playing.

“We know where we are as a team,” said redshirt senior forward Tucker Hume. “When we don’t perform at the level we want to perform at, it’s obviously a little annoying.”

At times this season, North Carolina has lived up to its ranking. UNC allowed only one shot on goal in a pair of dominant 3-0 victories to open the season, and the team also bested Clemson, then the No. 2 team in the land.

But at other times, North Carolina has looked completely different. The Tar Heels struggled against both VCU and ETSU — teams that, on paper, they should easily beat.

UNC needed two goals from Tucker Hume to best VCU in a come-from-behind victory last week, and it couldn’t overcome the Buccaneers on Tuesday.

While both games came against opponents seemingly less talented than North Carolina, the Tar Heels refuse to use that as an excuse.

“It shouldn’t matter what team we play,” Pyle said. “We should perform the same every game, no matter what.”

Coach Carlos Somoano agrees.

“We lacked a little bit of discipline,” he said. “But that was more lacking discipline in what we were doing on the field — not lacking respect for ETSU.”

If the Tar Heels want to live up to expectations, they’ll need to play with more consistency. That starts with more intensity from each player.

“Tonight we just didn’t play as a team,” Hume said. “We need to regroup and start playing for each other if we want to do something with this thing.”

@The_Belshe

sports@dailytarheel.com

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