DURHAM — The No. 5 North Carolina men’s soccer team traveled down Tobacco Road Tuesday night and slipped past No. 14 Duke with a 1-0 victory, clinching the ACC Coastal Division title for the fourth consecutive year.
The first half was an uneventful one filled with moments of urgency.
The Blue Devils (9-5-1, 4-3 ACC) had the first shot of the game in the 10th minute and another in the 41st minute, but couldn’t capitalize on either. The Tar Heels (12-2-1, 6-1 ACC) dominated possession for a majority of the half; however, they didn’t have their first shot until the 37th minute.
By the end of the half, the game was still scoreless. Duke had two shots the entire first half, both of which were on goal, while UNC had a total of four, half of them on goal.
The second half started like the first until the 56th minute. Junior Jeremy Kelly played the ball over the top, and it was deflected. Junior Jack Skahan chipped it over the Duke keeper, pushing UNC into the lead.
That single play sealed UNC’s fate. Although the play became more aggressive as the half wore down, the Tar Heels clinched the Coastal Division title and the win over their rival.
Who stood out?
Skahan continued his hot streak against Duke, scoring his fifth goal in three games. Out of the last seven goals for the Tar Heels, Skahan has scored five of them.
Over the last week, the forward has had his first career multi-goal game, first career hat trick, scored the game-winning goal against Winthrop, provided the game-winning assist against Boston College, and named to Top Drawer and College Soccer News’ team of the week for the week ending on Oct. 21.
Pyle held the defense together, making key saves throughout the night to keep the Blue Devils off of the board.
When was it decided?
Skahan’s lone goal of the night secured the win for the Tar Heels. Although the Blue Devils kept pressing the UNC defense, they never made it onto the board.
Why does it matter?
The Coastal Division title was on the line for the Tar Heels and the Blue Devils. Both teams were at the top of the division. With a win, UNC is now the outright winner of the Coastal Division for the fourth year in a row.
This rivalry game is notorious in any sport. Tensions are higher during the Battle of the Blues, and tempers flare both on and off the field. However, UNC came out on top thanks to Skahan’s lone goal.
Where do they play next?
The Tar Heels will host No. 6 Virginia on Friday Oct. 26 at WakeMed Soccer Park.
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