Much of the match looked the same.
No. 4 North Carolina would pressure No. 20 UNC-Wilmington, get a shot, and then the attack would fizzle out. But the constant pressure proved to be too much for the Seahawks.
Redshirt senior Nico Melo notched a goal in the 68th minute to lift the Tar Heels (8-1-1, 3-0-1 ACC) to a 1-0 victory over the Seahawks (6-2-1).
Many expected a high-scoring affair, since UNC and UNC-W averaged at least two goals per game this season. But a shootout was not to be.
It was a chess match in the first half. UNC dominated possession but couldn't seem to put the ball in the back of the net. Time and time again, North Carolina worked the ball through the middle of field and found a shot — but not a goal.
“It’s very frustrating, but grinding it out is important," said junior forward Zach Wright. "Because what if they get one chance and happen to put it away, like ETSU?
“As long as we keep getting chances like that, it means we’re down at their end and they’re not down at our end.”
Only one of these shots was on target, however, and the chances were not as dangerous as the Tar Heels might have hoped. The game was tied 0-0 at halftime, with UNC leading the shot count 7-1.
The second half highlighted UNC’s possession of the ball. More and more chances came for the Tar Heels, and the game finally broke.