The No. 13 North Carolina men’s soccer team (5-0-4, 1-0-3 ACC) defeated Elon (1-6-2, 0-3-1 CAA) Tuesday evening in a hard-fought 2-0 game, extending its unbeaten streak to nine.
Elon’s offensive and defensive pressure early on in the contest gave the Tar Heels issues. The Phoenix opened with two shots in the third and fifth minutes, both of which were blocked away by Tar Heel defenders, and UNC struggled to get the ball into the final third.
North Carolina's first shot on goal came in the 13th minute, as a weak attempt by junior midfielder Andrew Czech that Elon’s goalie handled easily. Still, the Phoenix controlled possession in the first 20 minutes of the game, firing off quality shots that just missed the frame.
Redshirt sophomore goalie Andrew Cordes made his first save of the contest in the 24th minute after Elon forward Jack Dolk dribbled the ball around graduate defender Vemund Hole Vik and rocketed a grounder into Cordes’ chest.
Neither team could find the back of the net in the first half and the Tar Heels were both out-possessed and outshot, 4-2.
“The team wasn’t very good in the first half,” head coach Carlos Somoano said. “Give credit to Elon, they were more inspired, more energetic than us, played harder. And we weren’t very good.”
UNC’s offensive struggles continued in the early stages of the second half. Graduate forward Martin Vician and graduate midfielder Quenzi Huerman could not connect on a short cross in the box, and an attempt off a free kick was easily headed away by Elon defenders.
Huerman looked to spark the North Carolina offense in the 57th minute with a strike from the edge of the box, but the ball sailed directly into the diving arms of the Elon goalkeeper.
The Phoenix got its best opportunity of the night shortly after. In the 59th minute, a shot from Elon defender Myson Darden bounced off the chest of Cordes. He was forced to dive on the ensuing rebound just before an Elon striker could send it into the back of the net.