In an in-state battle, the North Carolina men’s soccer team (3-2-2) tied against the UNC Wilmington Seahawks (3-1-3), 0-0, Tuesday night at Dorrance Field.
UNC ended the Seahawks’ initial possession quickly and flipped early pressure on Wilmington. In the seventh minute, fifth-year midfielder Milo Garvanian worked his way deep into UNCW’s goalie box before a Seahawk defender booted out his pass attempt out of North Carolina's attacking zone.
On the counterattack, Wilmington looked to have found a crease in the Tar Heels’ backline. But a Seahawk offside ended UNCW’s push to return possession back to North Carolina.
The two squads would continue to trade empty possessions, as neither team registered a shot during the first 20 minutes of action.
After subbing into the contest, Ernest Bawa left his mark early, firing the night’s first shot attempt. The junior midfielder’s right-footed boot was punched away by senior goalie Gabriel Perrotta, keeping the tilt scoreless.
Bawa’s quick strike turned the tide for UNC’s offense, as the Tar Heels would tally five more shots in the first half. Yet, each opportunity failed to find the back of the net and North Carolina went into the half tied at zero.
Out of the break, UNC looked to break the standstill. Redshirt junior Key White found himself in a one-on-one scenario early in the second half, but Perrotta tipped White’s line-drive shot out of play.
Moments later, sophomore midfielder Juan Caffaro joined the mix of Tar Heels with opportune chances. In a span of two minutes, the transfer from Barry University lasered two shots on goal — the second of which was feet from bouncing into the goal.
In the 63rd minute, North Carolina earned its first corner kick of the second period. Junior forward Akeim Clarke’s header steps from the goal required a leaping save from Perrotta to keep from awarding UNC a goal.
Late in the second half, a Wilmington red card gave the Tar Heels a man-up advantage. However, UNCW’s compact defense kept North Carolina scoreless and lead to the contest ending in a 0-0 draw.
Who stood out?
Making his first-career appearance in net, senior goalkeeper Marco Saborio-Perez impressed for the Tar Heels. In the limited shots he saw, Saborio-Perez’s remained calm and his efforts helped UNC field a shutout.
Moreover, graduate defender Til Zindhardt’s experience at center back helped limited the few offensive chances the Seahawks had. The graduate transfer from Tulsa’s quick feet shut down numerous Seahawks tries and helped keep Wilmington off the board while the Tar Heels tried to get their offense going.
When was it decided?
For the majority of the contest, North Carolina struggled to find the back of the net. After Bawa sparked the Tar Heels’ offense midway through the first half, UNC’s offense came to life.
Numerous chances in transition and off corner kicks looked to have UNC close to scoring the game-winner, but Perotta’s play in goal kept North Carolina off the board. Despite drawing a red card on the Seahawks and earning a man advantage, the Tar Heels were unable to capitlize.
Why does it matter?
With the tie, the Tar Heels see their second straight contest end in a draw. Likewise, North Carolina has failed to win four of its last five matches — with its lone victory coming against East Tennessee State.
With conference play kicking into full gear later in the week, UNC will look to find the next gear within its offense to earn the team’s first ACC win.
When do they play next?
North Carolina will hit the road to take on Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Saturday’s contest is set to start at 7 p.m.
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