The Daily Tar Heel

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Wednesday January 26th

No. 1 UNC men's soccer ties Old Dominion, 1-1, in first match as top-ranked team

<p>Defender Mauricio Pineda (2) attempts to block a pass against UNC-Wilmington on Sunday night at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary.</p>
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Defender Mauricio Pineda (2) attempts to block a pass against UNC-Wilmington on Sunday night at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary.

The newly-crowned No. 1 North Carolina men’s soccer team tied against Old Dominion in Norfolk, Va. on Tuesday night. 

Both teams had a number of opportunities for overtime winners, but neither could capitalize, and the Tar Heels weren’t able to pull out a victory in their first match with the top ranking.

What happened?

After nearly a half without a score, UNC (9-1-1, 4-0 ACC) junior midfielder Mauricio Pineda capitalized on a ball from junior forward Jelani Pieters to score in the 42nd minute of play. Pieters’ setup was preceded by a well-executed through ball from sophomore forward Giovanni Montesdeoca, and with that, North Carolina grabbed the lead.

The Tar Heels would hold the 1-0 advantage until the 64th minute, when Old Dominion (7-3-2, 4-1 C-USA) scored following a corner kick. The ODU goal came in a mad scramble for the ball after several clearance attempts, enough to ensure the eventual tie. 

A pair of 10-minute extra-time periods couldn’t separate the teams, and the score remained deadlocked at one after a raucous 110 minutes of play.

UNC finished with 10 shots (two on goal) to ODU’s nine (three on goal), and was outshot 7-1 on corner kicks. The team also committed eight fouls -- a measly figure compared to the Monarch’s 17, a number that included three yellow cards.

Who stood out?

Senior goalkeeper James Pyle came up with two big saves by the 4th minute to fend off the Monarchs in the early going.

Aside from Pineda’s score, the Tar Heels got a number of opportunities by way of Pieters and Montesdeoca, but were unable to capitalize. 

However, the team held strong defensively in the game’s late stages, including preventing three shots in the second overtime alone.

When was it decided?

The final moments. Old Dominion attempted three corners in the second overtime, all stonewalled by the Tar Heels. 

Junior midfielder Jeremy Kelly had a chance at a winner just earlier in the 94th minute, but his shot was wide. 

Why does it matter?

The match was UNC’s first as the nation’s top-ranked team, coming three days after a 2-1 win over then-No. 19 Virginia Tech. 

On a more tactical front, the Tar Heel attack failed to create consistent opportunities on the offensive end, and will look to improve on that front moving forward. Though attempting ten shots, only two were on goal. 

The team certainly would have hoped to get more of its shots on goal.

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels will look to regain offensive mojo in an ACC matchup with NC State in Raleigh on Friday.

@rwilcox_

@DTHSports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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