The North Carolina men’s soccer team (6-3-1, 2-2-0 ACC) routed N.C. State (5-4-1, 0-3-1 ACC), 4-0, at Dorrance Field on Sunday night.
The Tar Heels’ offense started to push the pace immediately. The first shot of the game came in the eighth minute from graduate forward Gerit Wintermeyer, who beat his man and sent a low shot wide left of the goal. Just over a minute later, another shot from Tim Schels went soaring over the goal.
The N.C. State defense began to shore up, though, and soon the Wolfpack had taken control of the possession game and turned the momentum in their favor. UNC goalkeeper Alec Smir let a shot off a Wolfpack fast break get past him, but an offsides call ruled the play no good.
The UNC defense continued to fend off an aggressive N.C. State attack, with graduate defender Filippo Zattarin making a diving play in front of the goal to deflect a Wolfpack shot out of bounds.
Minutes later, Zattarin would make another impressive play on the other side of the ball, as his downfield pass set up junior midfielder Cameron Fisher for a strong, low shot that marked the first score of the game.
UNC would see more good looks in the half but couldn’t extend the lead, and the Tar Heels went into the half up 1-0.
Much of the second half was a chippy back-and-forth affair between the teams, but first-year Tega Ikoba scored in the 69th minute to double UNC’s lead. Senior midfielder Milo Garvanian found Ikoba scrapping with defenders in front of the goal, who sent it past the goalkeeper into the bottom right corner.
The score would then be run up with two extra goals in the 84th and 89th minute from Fisher and Wintermeyer, respectively, to cement the blowout victory.
Who stood out?
Fisher continued his breakout with the Tar Heels, notching his fourth and fifth goals of the season to lead the team. Those goals were Fisher’s first since the Campbell game on Sept. 14.
The UNC defense continued its impressive play, led by graduate players Zattarin and Joe Pickering with Alec Smir in goal. The unit locked down its opponents, only allowing the Wolfpack to get off seven shots.
When was it decided?
The nail in the coffin for N.C. State was Fisher’s highlight-reel goal in the 84th minute that put UNC up 3-0.
Fisher beat his man on the right side of goal with a quick step to the left, and he made a second defender overrun him, leaving him with a point blank shot in front of goal. Fisher sent the ball between the goalkeeper's legs for his second score of the game.
Why does it matter?
The Tar Heels needed a rivalry win at home after being upset on the road at UNC Wilmington earlier in the week. This victory was UNC’s second straight conference win after a 3-0 loss to Duke to begin ACC play.
In addition, the UNC offense proved just how formidable it can be, even with star forward Ernest Bawa out. Fisher continued to show that his outbreak this season is no fluke, as he looks to be an integral part of the Tar Heels’ offense as the season progresses.
When do they play next?
UNC will play next on Friday, Oct. 8 in a home match against Wake Forest. The game will begin at 7 p.m.
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