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.