DURHAM — The North Carolina men's soccer team walked off the pitch at Koskinen Stadium in Durham with a feeling of dissatisfaction after its 2-0 win against Jacksonville Monday night.
Though the No. 5 Tar Heels (3-1) shutout the Dolphins (0-4) and attempted 12 shots in the match with six on frame, they only had a pair of goals to show for it.
“We probably wanted to get more out of this game, personally and as a team,” junior midfielder Jeremy Kelly said. “I don’t think we’re really satisfied right now. But we got a win, and that’s really what counts.”
North Carolina scored in the 13th minute but didn’t find the back of the net for the second time until the final minutes of the game. Junior midfielder Mauricio Pineda put the first goal on the board for the Tar Heels on an assist from senior forward Nils Bruening.
Sophomore midfielder Raul Aguilera launched a corner kick that connected with Bruening’s head as he split two Dolphin players. Bruening’s header rolled to Pineda, who fired a shot that bounced off the goalkeeper’s left leg and into the net.
Pineda shot three times and put two balls on frame in the match. He was aggressive offensively throughout the night, but the 6-foot-1 Bolingbrook, Illinois native expressed his frustration with the team’s effort after the game.
“In the first half, I feel like we weren’t aggressive enough,” Pineda said. “Our intensity in general has been a common theme this season. It hasn’t been high enough. Playing here, everyone demands the highest intensity at all times.”
There were 76 minutes that separated Pineda’s make and the Tar Heels’ second goal. In the 89th minute, first-year midfielder Milo Garvanian attempted a shot that was deflected by the goalkeeper.
The ball then bounced in front of the goal before sophomore Alex Rose beat the recovering goalie to the spot. The forward tapped it into the net with his right foot and ended any remaining hope Jacksonville had of a draw.
This was North Carolina’s third consecutive game holding its opponent to three or fewer shots. Still, head coach Carlos Somoano echoed his players’ sentiments about not being satisfied with the performance.
“I think when you leave the field wanting more, it’s because you didn’t leave enough on the field,” he said. “I don’t think we played hard enough today. Of course you should leave the field wanting more today because you didn’t give everything.”
UNC has struggled so far this season finishing opportunities against top-tier opponents. Against No. 4 Indiana in late August, the Tar Heels outshot the Hoosiers 11-3 but lost the match 1-0.
North Carolina plays Pittsburgh on Saturday and Davidson on Sept. 11 before taking on No. 2 Duke on Sept. 14. The group will have to find a way to convert on chances and maintain a high intensity for 90 minutes if it hopes to beat teams that are among the nation’s best.
“I didn’t think we were really sharp, but you have to take a 2-0 win and be happy with that,” Somoano said. “(We’ll) go back to work tomorrow and see if we can get a little bit better for Saturday.”
UNC will be back at Koskinen Stadium when it hosts the Panthers on Saturday at 7 p.m., hoping to wash away the taste of dissatisfaction from its last performance.
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