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The Daily Tar Heel

No. 3 UNC men's soccer snags No. 1 seed for ACC Tournament in 0-0 draw against No. 12 Notre Dame

The No. 3 North Carolina men’s soccer team  ended its regular season with a 0-0 draw against No. 12 Notre Dame, clinching the No. 1 seed in the ACC Tournament. The Tar Heels finish end season undefeated on the road.

What happened?

UNC (11-2-3, ACC 5-1-2) was looking to finish the regular season on a high note against the Fighting Irish (10-5-2, ACC 3-3-2), and would need another great performance from its defense. The team faced Notre Dame junior forward Jon Gallagher, who is the co-leader in goals scored in the ACC with 11.

The tone was set for the defensive struggle early in the first half, with both teams failing to tally a shot for the first 13 minutes, the Tar Heels would hold the Fighting Irish without a shot for the first 18. North Carolina went on to dominate possession for the first 15 minutes of the game.

After back-and-forth play through the middle portion of the first half, Notre Dame picked up two scoring opportunities in the final 15 minutes, including a first-touch volley from inside the box that went just wide of the goal post.

The evenly played match continued through much of the second half, with both teams coming within inches of pulling away at different points. North Carolina’s best chance came in the 64th minute, when redshirt senior Nico Melo blasted a shot that clanged right off the post. Notre Dame finished the second half with a strong push much like the team had to end the opening half. Gallagher was very active inside UNC’s box with under five minutes remaining in the half, setting up a header for a teammate that challenged the defense, and almost putting the ball just inside the far left post with just over a minute left.

The two teams played both 10-minute overtimes conservatively, seemingly content to come away with a draw.

Who stood out?

Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper James Pyle came away with his 10th shutout of the season — and his third in a row — helping out the defense with two crucial saves. The guys in front of Pyle again played well helping to keep 18 shots — including six by Gallagher — from reaching the back of the net.

When was it decided?

Despite a couple of close calls by both teams, the two defenses in this game played well as was expected coming into the matchup, and the game ended in a scoreless draw after 110 minutes of play.

Why does it matter?

This draw clinched the No. 1 seed for North Carolina heading in to the ACC's post-season tournament. The Tar Heels showed again that defensively, they can compete with any team in the country. Despite a shutout Friday, the offense still averages over two goals per game, so UNC all of the pieces to do well going forward.

Where do they play next?

North Carolina will host an ACC Championship Quarterfinal match on Sunday, Nov. 6, at 1 p.m. The opponent will be decided on Saturday based on the results of the Boston College-N.C. State game.


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