The UNC men's soccer team (4-3-2, 1-2-1 ACC) fell to No. 17 Clemson (8-2-0, 2-2-0 ACC) in a 1-0 match on Monday night at Dorrance Field.
The matchup started off with a bang. Both teams came out of the gate with aggressive offensive efforts, and within the first 5 minutes, two corner kicks were recorded.
This momentum continued throughout the first 20 minutes of the half with both teams trading possession back and forth.
Key moments came in the 11th minute with a top-right arching shot by UNC sophomore midfielder Juan Caffaro that was saved by Clemson goalie Joseph Andema, as well as in the 20th minute with another top-right arching shot by UNC first-year midfielder Sam Williams.
The Tigers also recorded a shot attempt during the opening minutes of the game by graduate midfielder Derek Waleffe.
However, neither team managed to finish any shooting attempts, leading to a stalemate.
The Tar Heels maintained a strong defensive line despite multiple attacks by the Tigers, limiting them to only 3 shots in the first half.
UNC redshirt first-year goalie Andrew Cordes recorded multiple strong saves off of a corner kick in the 28th minute, and a left-arching shot in the 30th minute by Clemson's Adam Lundegard.
The first half was ushered out with two corner kicks by UNC, both of which the offensive line failed to capitalize on.
The second half started off in a similar manner to the first, with multiple opportunities for both teams ultimately culminating in nothing.
Early on in the second period, UNC was able to seize control of the ball, taking two shooting attempts in the 62nd and 70th minutes compared to only one by the Tigers.
Momentum shifted in favor of Clemson during the 72nd minute when the Tigers were able to capitalize on a corner kick with a goal by sophomore defender Joey Skinner off of an assist by senior midfielder Alvaro Gomez.
Who stood out?
The Tar Heel defense stepped up to the plate in a major way, with graduate defender Til Zinnhardt playing all 90 minutes of the game and shutting down offensive attacks by Clemson's Derek Waleffe and Adam Lundegard.
The Tigers showcased strong offense on behalf of Derek Waleffe, who recorded 2 shots and played an impressive 80 minutes, as well as Alvaro Gomez, who scored the only goal of the game.
When was it decided?
During the first half of the game, neither team appeared dominant, with both the Tar Heels and the Tigers shutting each other out completely.
The matchup remained fairly neutral until the 72nd minute, in which the Tigers were able to find the back of the net off of a corner kick.
The Tar Heels were unable to find an answer to the goal, with the rest of the match passing without any further shot attempts on behalf of either team.
Why does it matter?
As the fourth conference bout of the season, this game was a defining moment for the rest of the Tar Heels' ACC play. The Tigers promised to be formidable foes, ranked at No. 17 in NCAA standings, and UNC's loss today against them today highlights the offensive struggles of the team. The Tar Heels will be looking to step up their offensive game before conference play resumes in order to get their season back on track.
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels return to Dorrance Field on Friday, Oct. 7 to face Virginia Tech in their fifth ACC matchup of the season.
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