The No. 11 North Carolina men's soccer team (7-2-5, 2-2-3 ACC) defeated Louisville (9-4-2, 2-4-1 ACC), 2-0, Sunday night at home to break its three game scoreless streak against conference opponents.
The win marks UNC’s second conference victory of the season, its only other ACC win being against No. 9 Duke.
UNC has struggled this season with an inability to convert scoring opportunities into goals. But, North Carolina’s top-scoring graduate forward Quenzi Huerman changed that today, scoring right off the bat in the third minute of the game to put UNC up, 1-0.
“The biggest difference between the last couple games and tonight is that we had an extra two days to recover before the game,” head coach Carlos Somoano said. “So what did we do? We’re just fresher.”
However, the early lead resulted in complacency from the Tar Heels, who carried out a series of sloppy plays following the goal. A mistouch near the net by the North Carolina defense almost led to a scoring opportunity for the Cardinals, but was prevented by a defensive header from graduate defender Til Zinnhardt.
“The wonderful thing with [Zinnhardt] is he’s like that guy that doesn’t ever falter,” Somoano said.
This sequence was followed by a careless pass up the middle of the pitch by graduate forward David Bercedo, which allowed Lousiville to break away once more. However, the Cardinals were again stymied by the Tar Heel defensive line, which was able to force a bad shot that failed to connect with the net in order to sustain the lead.
Despite these errors, UNC maintained a strong ability to win balls in the final third, which allowed multiple chances throughout the game.
Two opportunities came for the Tar Heels after a penalty was called on the Cardinals within feet of the 18-yard box. The penalty kick was taken by Huerman and almost resulted in an assist for the senior. He lofted the ball towards the far post, directly into the feet of senior defender Riley Thomas. Thomas’ original shot was blocked, causing a frantic Louisville defense as the ball bobbled around the box, before it was ultimately saved by Cardinal goalie Alex Svetanoff.