The No. 18 North Carolina men’s soccer team (7-2-2, 3-1 ACC) defeated the West Virginia Mountaineers (6-4-1) 3-1 behind a two-goal performance by senior Mauricio Pineda on Tuesday night in Chapel Hill.
North Carolina started the game in aggressive fashion as the Tar Heels had four shots in the first 6:30 with two shots on goal. UNC played stingy defense as the Mountaineers didn’t have a shot until the 21 minutes. Through the first 25 minutes of play North Carolina led in shots 9-1 and 3-0 on shots on goal.
With 27:49 played, Pineda scored after dribbling the ball in the box to give the Tar Heels a 1-0 lead. A minute late, senior Jelani Pieters assisted Pineda's second goal, putting UNC up 2-0.
Later in the half, the Mountaineers finished a back post to score their first goal at 36:02 to cut the lead to one. By halftime, North Carolina held a 2-1 lead, outshot their opponent 16-4, and held an 8-1 advantage on shots on goal.
But the second half was much slower with seven shots combined from both teams, UNC claiming a narrow 4-3 edge. In the 72nd minute of the game first-year Jonathan Jimenez scored his first collegiate goal to extend the Tar Heels lead to 3-1. This would be the final score and gave North Carolina their seventh victory of the season.
Who stood out?
Pineda scored his two goals in the game less than a minute apart. His first came when he received the ball from a corner kick in the box, dribbled it and propelled the ball into the back of the net.
When was it decided?
The aggressive play from North Carolina helped it claimed a 2-1 lead going into halftime. The early lead proved to be enough as North Carolina played lock-down defense in the second half and didn’t allow a shot on goal in the last 45 minutes of the game. The third goal pushed the lead to 3-1 and eventually was the final in Chapel Hill.
Why does it matter?
This game was Pineda’s second ever multi-goal game of his career dating back to Oct. 11, 2016 when Pineda was a first-year. In that game he achieved a hat trick in a 7-0 win over UNC Ashville. This gave Pineda five goals on the season and matches a season high.
Head coach Carlos Somoano emphasized the fast pace his team played at in the first half and being able to execute.
“West Virginia upped the tempo too, sometimes you have no choice depending on how the opponent plays,” Somoano said. “But in the end, we want to be able to execute the ideas we have faster than our opponent, if you do that — you’re going to be pretty successful over the course of the season.”
Somoano reiterated tempo and managing the pace of play.
“That being said you know when you try and up the tempo and sometimes it gets a little frantic, and sometimes that happens, so we’re, that’s what we’ve been working on all year—just playing at higher tempos and being able to manage playing at higher tempos. “
When do they play next?
North Carolina has a short week as they will play host to the Syracuse Orange in an ACC matchup Saturday Oct. 12 at 1 p.m. in Chapel Hill.
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