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Thursday January 20th

No. 1 UNC men's soccer taken down by N.C. State in Raleigh

Sophomore Midfielder Raul Aguilera (28) fights to keep control of the ball against against Virginia Tech players during Saturday's game against Virginia Tech at Koskinen Stadium. UNC won 2-1.
Buy Photos Sophomore Midfielder Raul Aguilera (28) fights to keep control of the ball against against Virginia Tech players during Saturday's game against Virginia Tech at Koskinen Stadium. UNC won 2-1.

The No. 1 ranked North Carolina men’s soccer fell to unranked N.C. State 1-0 on Friday.  

What happened?

The first half played out evenly, as each team had prime chances to score — but failed to capitalize. For the first half, North Carolina took eight shots, but couldn't find the back of the goal. The Wolfpack only took one of the half — a shot wide in the 22nd minute of the game.  

In the second half, N.C. State would only take one other shot, its only shot on goal of the game. Unlike UNC, that shot became a goal. David Loera put his team on the board after the ball deflected off of Alex Comsia in the 53rd minute, taking a 1-0 lead. 

The rest of the game, UNC fought admirably to catch back up, taking 10 shots, two which were on goal with another that hit the crossbar. Jeremy Kelly was given a yellow card in the 75th minute.  David Mejia also received one later on in the match (78th minute). 

Despite holding a 5-1 shot on goal advantage, the Tar Heels fell in Raleigh. 

Who stood out?

UNC had a near goal in the 11th minute off a beautiful cross from Nils Bruening to Milo Garvanian.  Garvanian had a volley opportunity with just the keeper to beat, but he was unable to finish and the shot was saved.  

Jelani Pieters also had a chance to strike first in the 45th minute. The ball sailed just wide of the net after he tried to curl the ball to the back left post.  Bruening almost got a goal for himself, bouncing a shot off the crossbar in the 69th minute.

Nonetheless, it wasn't the night for the UNC offense, as they couldn't find a goal when they needed one most. 

When was it decided?

The N.C. State breakaway goal turned a very even match into one played almost entirely in front of the Wolfpack’s goal. 

UNC had an 18-2 shot advantage in the game with several near misses. The game was decided when Kelly received the yellow card. The Wolfpack started to settle into the game defensively and hold the Tar Heels scoreless. The Tar Heels seemed unable to take advantage of their golden opportunities, while the Wolfpack did on their few. That ended up being the story of the match. The only Wolfpack shot on goal was the difference. 

Why does it matter?

The Tar Heels came into this match ranked as the No. 1 team in the nation — looking to rebound after a 1-1 draw against Old Dominion. In years past, the city of Raleigh had been very kind to the Tar Heels. They had not lost on the road against N.C. State since 1997, but the Wolfpack was determined to change that. 

This match also had significant ACC implications. The Tar Heels were the only undefeated team in conference play and had not lost in nine matches. The loss still keeps them atop the Coastal Division, but moves them behind Wake Forest (5-1 ACC) in the conference, lowering their national rank after a single week at the top spot. 

When do they play next?

UNC (9-2-1, 4-1-0) will try and bounce back as it hosts Winthrop (2-8-0, 1-4-0) on Tuesday, October 16. 

@ryanheller23 | @DTHSports

sports@dailytarheel.com

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