The North Carolina men's soccer team (2-0-0, 0-0 ACC) defeated South Florida (0-1-1, 0-0 AAC), 1-0, in a Sunday evening bout at Dorrance Field.
Seven minutes into the match, UNC midfielder Ahmad Al-Qaq took a shot at the top of the goal that was saved by USF goalkeeper Jackson Weyman. Just a couple minutes after that, Sebastian Schacht, a graduate transfer from St. Mary's, missed a shot wide right.
The game swung UNC's way at the 13 minute mark, when Milo Garvanian was tripped up just inside the box by a South Florida defender and was awarded a penalty kick. The graduate midfielder made Weyman jump left and easily placed the ball into the right side of the goal for the first score of the night.
It was a controversial call, as replays showed that the initial contact with Garvanian appeared to have occurred outside the penalty box.
Immediately after the penalty kick, Bulls forward Alfred Perez exited the game with injury, dealing another blow to USF.
Thirty minutes in, USF forward Jeffery Copper took the Bulls' first shot of the game. Receiving a cross pass center of goal, Copper jumped up to boot the ball into the net but was met by UNC goalkeeper Andrew Cordes, who came out of the goal to stop the play.
After the save, UNC forward Key White drew a penalty for a free kick wide right of the goal. In the ensuing play, White took a shot at the goal but punted the ball high over the crossbar. A little after that, UNC forward Cameron Fisher unloaded from the penalty arc but Weyman saved the shot on goal.
The teams continued to trade shots for the remainder of the half, but none resulted in any more scoring. Towards the end of the half, UNC junior defender Riley Thomas made an impressive tackle from behind to prevent USF's Jemone Barclay, who had nobody in front of him but the goalkeeper, from scoring.
Garvanian and Akeim Clarke both had looks at the goal early on in the second half, but neither shot found the back of the net. On the opposite end of the field, Barclay rocketed a shot off his left foot from deep but Cordes knocked the shot over the crossbar.
Clarke had another opportunity at the goal a few minutes later, beating his defender on the far right side and ripping a shot low and to the right that just missed, ricocheting off the left goal post. White missed another point blank shot at the goal soon after, unable to finish before Weyman slid in for the stop.
With 14 minutes to play, USF forward Segun Afolabi nearly headed in the equalizer off a long cross from Marcus Victorio, but the shot was denied off the left post.
Who stood out?
Garvanian made the difference on Sunday for the Tar Heels, scoring the only goal of the game and making several key defensive plays and forcing several turnovers in the midfield to aid in the UNC victory.
White and Clarke were active up front, tallying a combined eight shots on the night, while Cordes, a redshirt first-year, recorded his first clean sheet victory with three saves for the Tar Heels.
When was it decided?
USF was in the hunt for the tying goal through the very last minute of play, but the Tar Heels did a good job of taking care of the ball to the end. Although UNC missed several chances for insurance goals, the defense — particularly Cordes in goal — did what they needed to do to secure the shutout victory.
Why does it matter?
The Tar Heels got off to a slow start against Air Force on Thursday, going down a goal before coming back to win, 2-1. On Sunday, UNC struck first and it paid dividends as the team never had to play from behind.
Head coach Carlos Somoano's squad likes to play a slow-moving, patient game that, as was showed tonight, is particularly effective when UNC scores first.
When do they play next?
North Carolina will take the field next Saturday, Sept. 3, at 7:30 p.m. against Florida International in Chapel Hill.
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