In front of a packed student section at the UNC Soccer and Lacrosse Stadium on Friday night, the No. 14 North Carolina men’s soccer team (4-1-3, 2-1 ACC) suffered a disappointing 3-2 loss to rival Duke (5-3, 1-2 ACC). It was the first time since 2014 that the Tar Heels gave up more than two goals in a game.
In an eventful match, UNC took an early lead in the 18th minute thanks to an impressive run by senior forward Jack Skahan into the box. He beat multiple Duke defenders, then coolly passed the ball by the goalkeeper and across the box to junior forward Alex Rose, who tapped the ball into an open goal.
The Tar Heels scored another goal in the 26th minute when senior Jelani Pieters received a crisp pass from sophomore Milo Garvanian and beat the Duke goalkeeper to take a 2-0 lead.
The energy in the stadium didn’t last long, though, as Duke responded just 63 seconds later with a goal of its own. At halftime, UNC led the Blue Devils 2-1.
After the break, the Blue Devils would tie the game in the 58th minute thanks to a strike from Brandon Williamson.
The Duke downpour continued in the 63rd minute. Blue Devil forward Scotty Taylor got behind the North Carolina defense and easily finished a one-on-one opportunity to take a lead that would not be relinquished.
With the third goal, the normally solid Tar Heel defense gave up more goals than it had the entire season. In fact, this was the first time that UNC had given up three goals since Dec. 6, 2014, when they were eliminated by UCLA in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament.