The No. 20 North Carolina men's soccer team (6-2-2, 3-1-1 ACC) used goals from senior Jack Skahan and junior Santiago Herrera to knock off Pitt (4-4-2, 1-2-1 ACC) on the road on Friday, 2-1.
The majority of the first half was quiet, with the teams manufacturing just six shots combined before the break. The Tar Heels had four of those, one of which came in the 34th minute after a setup pass from senior Mauricio Pineda to Skahan. Skahan couldn't complete the play, however, as his shot rippled off of the side of the net.
Then, after a scoreless 44:59, Skahan scored with a second remaining in the first half to give the Tar Heels a 1-0 lead. The goal came after Jelani Pieters was fouled with seconds left in the half, and the opportunistic Skahan hurried to put the ball in play and cashed in on the free kick from 25 yards out, stunning the Panthers.
Skahan picked up where he left off, nearly scoring again in the 50th minute. After a cross in to the box from sophomore midfielder Milo Garvanian, Skahan's left-footed shot sailed wide of the post.
North Carolina then went up 2-0 in the 72nd minute, after Herrera headed in a pass from Martin Salas at the near post for his second goal of the season. Though Pittsburgh scored in the 87th minute – the Panthers executed a counter attack that ended in a goal, coming after a deflection from UNC goalkeeper Alec Smir – UNC was able to hold on for the road win.
The Tar Heels finished with nine shots (three on goal) to Pitt's eight (two), with UNC also earning four corner kicks and committing eight fouls to the Panthers' 15.
Who stood out?
Skahan impressed with his third goal of the year, and manufactured four shots on the night. Meanwhile, Herrera's game-sealing header wouldn't have been possible without the perfectly placed pass from Salas, a senior midfielder who earned the first assist of his career.
When was it decided?
The game was all but in hand after the Tar Heels' second goal of the game, giving them a two-score advantage with less than 20 minutes to play. Though the Panthers were able to halve the lead in the 87th minute, North Carolina survived a tense few minutes to seal the win.
Why does it matter?
With the win, the Tar Heels improved to 3-1-1 in ACC play and 7-0-0 all-time against the Panthers. After a frustrating 3-2 loss to Duke last Friday, North Carolina has since responded with a 2-0 win over UNCW and the hard-fought ACC road win at Pitt.
When do they play next?
UNC will return home for a non-conference battle with West Virginia on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Chapel Hill.
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