The No. 6 North Carolina men's soccer team (0-1-1) are still winless this season after falling 2-1 to the No. 15 University of Central Florida on Sunday.
In their second regular-season game at UNC's new soccer facilities, both teams were getting shots up early and often. However, neither side gave an inch, and the game remained scoreless after 30 minutes.
The action began to pick up in the 31st minute when senior Jelani Pieters crossed a ball into the box in a position where only junior Alex Rose could make a play on it. Rose responded with a header at the back post that netted his second goal of the season. Up 1-0, the Tar Heel defense was able to stymie the Knights' offense for the rest of the half.
The first portion of the second half was a back and forth contest between the two teams with neither giving up ground. That all changed in the 63rd minute when Gianluca Arcangeli rebounded his own miss on a free-kick and sunk the second attempt to tie the game 1-1.
Despite putting several shots in a great position to go in, the Tar Heels could not find the back of the net. The Knights capitalized on a foul from junior Matt Constant and knocked in a double-assisted free-kick to take the 2-1 lead.
Who stood out?
Rose was the most aggressive player in Carolina Blue on Sunday. He accounted for half of UNC's shots on goal with three and netted the Tar Heels' lone score.
The forward from Cary, NC is trying to step up as a playmaker in his third season. After just two games, he has already tied his season-high in goals with two. He also has four shots on goal thus far, equaling the amount he had all of last season.
Senior Jack Skahan continued to be a leader for the Tar Heels even when his shots aren't falling. He put his team in position down the field and recorded four shots and two shots on goal.
When was it decided?
The Knights were the aggressors of the game, racking up 23 fouls to the Tar Heels' seven. However, the free-kick off Constant's foul resulted in a short six-yard boot that quickly found its way into the net and onto the scoreboard.
Though UNC had several more opportunities to tie the game and send it into overtime, they could not get the job done.
Why does it matter?
The season is young, but UNC is struggling out of the gate. Failing to record a win in two games on their home turf against lesser-ranked opponents doesn't bode well for a team ranked in the top 10 at the start of the season.
The Tar Heels fell in the polls to No. 20 and will continue to do so until they can string some wins together. Fortunately for UNC, the team will have a couple of games to right the ship before they face their first ACC opponent in Virginia Tech on September, 13.
When do they play next?
UNC will look for its first win of the season against Harvard on September, 6. The 7:30 p.m. kickoff will take place in Chapel Hill.
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