The No. 20 North Carolina men’s soccer team (1-1-1) got its first win of the season in a 6-0 shutout over Harvard (0-1) on Friday night.
UNC got off to a terrific start, scoring a goal in the opening minute of play. Junior Alex Rose knocked in his second goal of the season to give the Tar Heels an early lead, thanks to an assist from senior Jelani Pieters.
It did not take long for the Tar Heels to tack on a second goal. In the 11th minute, senior Jack Skahan struck the ball from 20 yards out, tucking it into the bottom left corner of the net.
A 2-0 lead did not slow down UNC. Several players had great chances in the box, but Stanford’s first-year goalkeeper Bobby Harraka had a few key saves to keep his team in the match.
Junior Santiago Herrera added on another goal in the 53rd minute off of a perfectly timed back heel pass from sophomore Antonio Lopez. Lopez was able to score a goal of his own in the 67th minute.
UNC continued to score as Skahan earned his second goal of the match in the 75th minute thanks to an assist from Rose. Seven minutes later, first-year Cameron Fisher got the final goal of the game, again off of a Rose assist, to bring the final score to 6-0.
Who stood out?
Skahan was all over the field, flying down the flanks. He scored an impressive long-distance goal to extend the Tar Heel lead early, then put another into the net to cap off a strong night.
Lopez also had a solid outing, making several plays to fuel the attack. He had an excellent assist to Herrera that slipped right in between multiple defenders. He followed that up with a goal of his own, tapping the ball past the goalkeeper for a slick goal.
When was it decided?
The Tar Heel’s goal to begin the game truly set the tone for the rest of the match. The Tar Heels took the quick lead and never looked back, regaining the momentum they need to get their season back on track.
Why does it matter?
UNC had a slow start to the season in the Carolina Nike Classic. After a draw in their opening game against Creighton, the Tar Heels were defeated by an unranked UCF team. The results dropped North Carolina from No. 6 to No. 20 in the United Soccer Coaches poll.
It was essential for North Carolina to get off to a good start against Harvard, a team it was expected to beat. They needed to make a statement, and that’s just what they did.
The Tar Heels absolutely dominated the match, outshooting the Crimson 35-4 and earning a whopping 12 corners to Harvard’s zero.
A big reason for this was UNC’s ability to dictate the pace of play. The ball was played almost entirely in Harvard’s side of the field. This allowed them to produce many shots in the box, leading to a season-high six goals and a dominant win.
When do they play next?
North Carolina will travel to Greensboro, N.C. to take on UNCG Monday at 7 p.m.
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