In a matter of months, new students will step on campus and several North Carolina sports teams will begin their seasons. Here are some of teams that will be in action this fall, and what to expect from them.
Last season: North Carolina women's soccer went 21-4-2 overall and 10-0 in conference in 2018, claiming the ACC regular season title but falling to Florida State 2-3 in the ACC Tournament Championship. These two teams met again in the NCAA Championship, where the Tar Heels fell to the Seminoles, 0-1.
What to expect: UNC will look to continue its dominance in 2019. Last season, the Tar Heels advanced to both the ACC Tournament title game and NCAA title game, but ultimately fell short of both championships. With a new season upon them, the Tar Heels will begin their quest for a 23rd NCAA title.
Key returners: After suffering a broken leg that ended her season, junior Alessia Russo will return to the pitch for the Tar Heels in 2019. Although Russo’s season was cut short, she appeared in 14 games for the Tar Heels, scoring six goals and four assists to earn ACC Offensive Player of the Year honors.
In addition to Russo, sophomore Brianna Pinto returns to the pitch for North Carolina. Last season, Pinto played in 26 games for the Tar Heels, scoring six goals and eight assists.
Where to watch: North Carolina will play all of its home games this season in the new Carolina Soccer and Lacrosse Stadium.
Last season: In 2018, the North Carolina men’s soccer team finished with a 14-4-1 record and a 6-1-0 mark in conference play. The Tar Heels advanced to the ACC Tournament title game, but lost to Louisville, 0-1. In the NCAA Tournament, North Carolina fell to James Madison in the second round, 1-2.
What to expect: North Carolina will have to fill the roles of eight seniors, three of which earned All-ACC honors in 2018. Couple the loss of veterans with an early exit from last year's NCAA tournament, and the Tar Heels will have some questions to answer in 2019.
Key returners: Several returners will help lighten the load, however, including first team All-ACC selection junior Mauricio Pineda, who recorded five goals and four assists last season.
In addition to Pineda, junior Jack Skahan was a key member of the 2018 North Carolina men’s soccer team, and he will return to the pitch this season. Last season, Skahan played in 16 games, scored seven goals and added three assists.
Where to watch: The men’s soccer team will also play its home matches in the Carolina Soccer and Lacrosse Stadium. Last season, both the men’s and women’s soccer teams played off campus at WakeMed Soccer Park.
Last season: The North Carolina men’s cross country team had four top-10 finishes in five meets last season, while the women’s team had one. To close out the season both teams competed in the NCAA Southeast Regional, with the men placing 11th and the women placing 14th.
What to expect: Both teams have plenty of underclassmen returning in 2019, and will look to send a Tar Heel to the NCAA Championships for the first time in three years.
Key returners: On the women’s team, Enyaeva Michelin was North Carolina’s top finisher in all five of the women’s competitions. Michelin was also named to the All-ACC second team.
On the men’s team, Jeremy Brown was one of UNC’s top three finishers in each of the five competitions.
Where to watch: All of the North Carolina cross country meets are off campus, and are hosted at other universities.
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