The ACC Tournament, no matter the sport, is always one of the most difficult conference tournaments to win in college sports. The UNC men’s soccer team found that out the hard way in its Sunday 1-0 overtime loss to Notre Dame.
After closing the regular season with a strong 2-0 win over Duke last week, head coach Carlos Somoano’s squad could not keep the momentum going into the tournament. The Tar Heels were solid on defense throughout the game against the Fighting Irish, but failed to find the back of the net.
Sunday’s quarterfinal loss marks the seventh time in eight years that North Carolina hasn’t been able to win a game in the ACC Tournament, with the last time they won it all being in 2011, Somoano’s first year at the helm of the program.
In the first half, UNC dominated possession of the ball and kept the pressure on high, outshooting the Fighting Irish nine to two and kicking seven corners to their opponent's one. Corner kick after corner kick, chance after chance, Notre Dame’s defense held strong in front of the goal, and senior goalkeeper Keagan McLaughlin stopped every ball that made it to him.
Those corner kick misses would prove costly for North Carolina, as in the second half, it was Notre Dame that flipped the switch to generate far more chances on offense.