The No. 18 North Carolina men’s soccer team suffered a 2-1 defeat at No. 9 Clemson in the ACC Tournament quarterfinal on Sunday night.
Clemson came out with aggression, firing off two shots within six minutes and putting pressure on the Tar Heels’ defense with three early corner kicks. UNC held its ground, however, and found its own opportunities on the goal with two shots by fifth-year senior forward Santiago Herrera and sophomore midfielder Tim Schels early in the first half. In the 20th minute, Schels set up Herrera’s second shot, which broke through for the Tar Heels’ first goal of the night.
In the 34th minute, Clemson was on the attack once again, unleashing four straight shots towards graduate goalkeeper Alec Smir. Smir saved three, but could not stop the last as Clemson knotted the game in the 37th minute.
To start the second half, the Tar Heels put much more pressure on the opponent’s defense, regaining their footing after falling on their heels at the end of the first. Throughout the first 30 minutes of the period, UNC out-shot Clemson and held its opponent at bay with forced giveaways and key saves from Smir.
Clemson was able to repeatedly penetrate the Tar Heels’ defense, however, and in the 76th minute, Clemson’s Quinn McNeill raced behind the UNC defenders to knock in a pass for the winning goal.
UNC was unable to answer in the final 15 minutes, which sealed the 2-1 defeat.
Who stood out?
Herrera scored his fifth goal of the season and was a key part of keeping the Tar Heels’ offense aggressive in the first half. He finished the game with two shots.