The Tar Heels had gone over 400 minutes without surrendering a single goal, so another clean sheet didn’t seem too farfetched.
But in the final 45 minutes, UNC allowed two goals as Virginia came back to defeat North Carolina, 2-1, on Friday night at Fetzer Field.
“I think we did enough if we just don’t concede those poor, poor defensive plays on our part,” Coach Carlos Somoano said. “They took advantage of it and they deserve credit for it, but we just had bad lapses on defense, and one goal should have been enough to win this game.”
With the Cavaliers (6-2-3, 1-2-2 ACC) struggling to maintain possession, their only hope to create scoring opportunities was through long passes into the final third, which are difficult to complete if the defense is focused and in proper position.
But the Tar Heels (8-2-1, 3-1-1 ACC) were neither on Friday even though they expected Virginia to utilize the long-ball attack.
“Carlos mentioned that they were going to keep clipping more balls over in the second half because that’s how they play,” said redshirt senior defender Walker Hume. “And it worked for them because we didn’t play our game.”
The first of those defensive lapses occurred in the 52nd minute, when midfielder Terrell Lowe sent a through ball into the box and found forward Marcus Salandy-Defour on the end line. As Salandy-Defour attempted to cross the ball in front of the goal, sophomore defender Alex Comsia slid in and deflected the pass off of his leg.
The only problem was that the ball ricocheted up in front of the goal, where an unmarked Pablo Aguilar ran in to head the ball by goalkeeper James Pyle while Hume and Colton Storm could only watch.