The last time the UNC men's soccer team scored two goals in a single game was Aug. 25 in a 2-1 win over Air Force. Since then, the Tar Heels had scored just five goals in eight games.
After going over a month without scoring two goals in a match, North Carolina did just that on Friday night in a 2-0 shutout win against Virginia Tech. UNC dominated both sides of the ball, something the Tar Heels have not done all season.
In a battle against the last-place team in the ACC Coastal division, North Carolina got on the board in the 23rd minute when redshirt junior Key White struck first off of an assist from fifth-year Milo Garvanian.
After missing all of last season, the speedy forward is starting to find his stride.
“He has capability, he has a good spirit and he is energetic,” head coach Carlos Somoano said. “He just has to bring a positive attitude on a more consistent basis, but without a doubt when he does that, we have tons of confidence he will provide.”
White, who hasn't started once this season, has been a spark for the Tar Heels off the bench. He is second on the team in goals scored with two — only behind Garvanian, who has four.
“It doesn’t matter about how much you play or when you come in, just try your hardest and make an impact for your team,” White said. “I feel like my role is when I go on the field, I want to create scoring chances and opportunities to score.”
The Tar Heels took a 1-0 lead into halftime. Then, in the 67th minute, Garvanian struck the ball from outside the box, which hit off the goalkeeper's gloves and bounced in for the goal.
While Garvanian was a game-changer on Friday, with one goal and one assist, the chemistry was clicking on all cylinders. The Tar Heels shot 17 shots and had nine on goal.
“(The team chemistry) clicked a little bit more tonight,” Garvanian said. “We’ve been working on this a ton in practice and trying to get it to come to life in games. We’ve been struggling a little but we found a groove tonight.”
Defense, however, has been the name of the game when talking about the Tar Heels this season. The team has only allowed six goals this season, and after Friday's shutout, has held the opposing team scoreless five times.
“Defense is always strong for us and we take pride in it,” Garvanian said.
The Tar Heels limited the Hokies to five shots and only one shot on goal, as Virginia Tech got looks throughout the match but could not penetrate the UNC defense. Virginia Tech's shots on goal percentage is 39.5 percent for the season, but on Friday, the team shot only 20 percent on goal.
With both the offense and the defense clicking, the Tar Heels have put themselves in a good position for the remainder of regular-season play. While the team seems to be far from a finished product, the group is focused on getting better one day at a time.
“It is (the best we have played this season) but this is nowhere close to where we can be,” White said.
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