The No. 14 North Carolina men’s soccer team (6-1-4, 1-1-3 ACC) gained its fourth shutout of the season with a 3-0 home victory over Florida Gulf Coast (3-3-4, 2-0-2 ASUN) Tuesday night.
Following their first season loss against No. 10 Syracuse on Friday, the Tar Heels stepped back onto their home field seeking redemption. Showcasing improvement in both offense and ball possession since last week, the team appeared more confident in the bout against the Eagles.
In the second minute, FGCU made its first attack at the goal, with a swift header from junior defender Lucas Windshauer, which was quickly grabbed by UNC redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Andrew Cordes. Only minutes later, the ball ended up in line of graduate forward Quenzi Huerman to take the Tar Heels’ first shot of the game, which glanced off the top of the net. The team then remained aggressive on offense in hopes of getting past the strong Eagle defense.
Following two unsuccessful North Carolina corner kick attempts, UNC sophomore defender Parker O’Ferral completed the third unassisted to make the match 1-0 in North Carolina's favor. The goal was UNC's first scored by a defender this season.
With growing momentum from North Carolina, officials awarded a yellow card to FGCU first-year forward Job Choute, leaving room for the Tar Heels to capitalize off of a penalty kick. Senior midfielder Ernest Bawa did just that, taking the kick and hitting the back of the net with ease, allowing North Carolina its second goal in the 19th minute – the quickest it has scored two goals this season.
“Against Syracuse, it wasn’t great and it wasn’t enough,” Vician said. “So we tried to run harder, to press harder, and to play like [it was] a playoff game.”
After a 55 percent possessive first half by North Carolina – a staggering 15 percent increase from last week’s game against Syracuse – FGCU regained confidence going into the final period. The Eagles began the half outshooting the Tar Heels, 5-1, two of which made contact with Cordes in the goal.
“Today, we were good in the first half and poor in the second half,” head coach Carlos Somoano said. “So I think our biggest thing is trying to figure out a way to be a little bit more consistent over the course of the game.”
However, the 80th minute of the match marked another opportunity for the Tar Heels to tally a point after Eagle goalkeeper Wyatt Kistner was unsuccessful in keeping UNC away from the goal. Sophomore defender Charlie Harper assisted graduate forward Martin Vician’s light tap to the back of the net to push the score to 3-0.