<![CDATA[The Daily Tar Heel: Sports]]> Sat, 21 Sep 2019 12:03:24 -0400 Sat, 21 Sep 2019 12:03:24 -0400 SNworks CEO 2019 The Daily Tar Heel <![CDATA[Buzz surrounding UNC football leads to student ticket fiasco]]> If you're a student at UNC, you've felt the hype around campus surrounding the North Carolina football team. The return of Hall of Fame head coach Mack Brown and wins over South Carolina and Miami have suddenly made Tar Heel football games marquee events.

But a new student ticket policy has put a damper on the fun for many this season.

In previous years, students were simply able to swipe their OneCards at the gates of Kenan Stadium on game day for admission. Now, students have to claim tickets to home games through an online portal, which opens at 9 a.m. 10 days before the game in question.

With claim periods having passed for the home opener against Miami and upcoming games versus Appalachian State and Clemson, some UNC students have been frustrated with the new process.

"I definitely think it's more trouble than it's worth," sophomore Matthew Jaynes said. "I've had a couple of negative experiences. I've logged on to the ticket claiming process right at 9 a.m., but I've still been put in a virtual waiting room. It's been super finicky to get tickets so far."

After the request period for the Miami game opened on Aug. 28, all 6,800 student tickets were claimed in a little over 24 hours, with the 200 student guest tickets gone well before.

Since then, more students have become aware of the new procedure. It took approximately 30 minutes on Sept. 11 for students to grab all available tickets for this Saturday's App State game; for the game against No. 1 Clemson, tickets were snagged in about 25 minutes on Wednesday morning.

There have been complaints from those with other commitments- such as class or work - during the Wednesday morning claim periods. It also didn't help that the portal for the App State game crashed for many due to high volume.

Gerry Lajoie, senior assistant director of athletics and ticket operations, said that the athletics department added additional servers to the portal after the technical difficulties.

Another change to this Wednesday's claim period included a randomization of students' places in the virtual waiting room. No matter how early students accessed the website, when the clock struck 9 a.m., the line's order was randomly shuffled.

"If you have 10,000 people looking for 7,000 tickets, not everyone's going to get one," Lajoie told The Daily Tar Heel on Tuesday. "But I think we certainly learned a lot from that first week to the next week. We're still evaluating the process. We're looking at it; we're talking about it internally."

Lajoie said the new policy was initially discussed after last season's home night game against Virginia Tech, when there was overcrowding in the student section and "a mess" at the entry gate. He added that the policy "dovetailed together nicely" with the return of Brown, one that brought a newfound excitement around the program.

Lajoie emphasized that the protocol, implemented after discussions with the Carolina Athletic Association and Carolina Fever, had more to do with safety and preparation than it did with boosting student attendance.

However, Carolina Fever co-chairperson Peyton Collette said the athletics department has stressed the importance of student attendance at football games to Fever and other campus organizations.

Collette, a senior, said he's also heard criticism of the system from other Fever students. Still, he acknowledged the benefits of the new policy, particularly in regards to the student turnout and atmosphere in the Tar Heels' home-opening 28-25 win over the Hurricanes.

"Maybe it's recency bias, but I truly do feel that this past Miami game was the best environment we've had in Kenan," Collette said. "And maybe the student section owes that a little bit to the new system of putting pressure on students to actually get there."

Student tickets are voided at kickoff, so there is indeed pressure on students to arrive early. And even though they've only played one game at home so far, the players felt a different energy from the student body, too.

"The student section was great - it was phenomenal," graduate defensive tackle Aaron Crawford said after practice on Tuesday. "It was the best I've ever seen by far. You can tell that they really impacted the game, really the stadium as a whole."

While it seems like a majority of students have been critical of the ticketing procedure, some are in favor of it because of the hype it's created for Tar Heel football.

Senior Hugh Kelley admits when he first received the email from Carolina Athletics regarding the changed policy, he was frustrated. But he's since changed his mind.

"I kinda just realized that it's creating demand and just generally making people more excited about the football season," Kelley said.

He continued, "You can't just go and tailgate for as long as you want and show up 15 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour late and go because you want to get the photo in Kenan. You have to get there 30 minutes early, as Mack Brown has requested, and really be dedicated. And I personally think that's awesome."

But there are some consequences of the protocol that the University might not have considered.

After Jaynes didn't receive a ticket to the Appalachian State game, he was done trying his luck. He purchased a student guest ticket through the ticket office, which comes with a regular student ticket, for the game against Clemson on Sept. 28.

Jaynes paid $75 for the pair of seats - a cost he said he'll split with his girlfriend, a die-hard Tigers fan.

Then, there's the issue of students selling their free student tickets. Jaynes and Kelley said they've already seen tickets sold around campus for the first three home games.

"I definitely think it shouldn't happen," Jaynes said. "I think every student should get a fair chance to claim a ticket. You shouldn't be jumping on just to make a profit, especially since you're getting that ticket for free."

Lajoie said his office has heard feedback - both positive and negative - from students, and has had internal discussions to better the process moving forward. A suggestion that's been brought up in meetings is using a lottery system, similar to the one used to distribute student tickets for men's basketball games.

"We've not settled on that, but we certainly had internal discussions and a lottery has been mentioned, where there's a larger claim period to at least get an entry," Lajoie said. "Maybe you're not claiming a ticket, but you're claiming an entry, and you have 24 to 48 hours to do so."

In the meantime, though, students should get accustomed to the current policy.

"I don't see us going back to a system where you show up with your OneCard - I don't think that's happening," Lajoie said. "But talking about, 'Are there better ways to handle the student process?'"


@DTHSports | sports@dailytarheel.com

<![CDATA[At UNCUT's launch, founders debut a new platform for student-athlete storytelling]]> In his first two years of college, Jake Lawler struggled with balance. More accurately, a lack thereof.

The linebacker's schedule at North Carolina, he said, went something like this: football, football, football, school, football, football, football, school. Mixed somewhere in there, sleep. Then do it all over again.

"I knew that I was more," he said.

With UNCUT, the video platform Lawler and four other UNC students launched this week, he hopes the next generation won't have to "fight and claw" like he did to balance sports with other interests and prove they're more than just a jersey number.

"As great as it is now, what I'm doing, it should never be that hard," Lawler said. "It should never be that difficult. And with UNCUT, it won't be anymore."

Ahead of its content launch Thursday afternoon, the student-led, athlete-driven nonprofit hosted an exclusive premiere Wednesday night at the Varsity Theatre on Franklin Street. Over the course of an hour, the UNCUT team introduced itself to donors and supporters, screened three of its new video stories and hosted a round-table discussion with Lawler as moderator.

The event was 11 months in the making, headed by UNCUT's five-person team of Lawler, track and field athlete Jill Shippee and UNC students Alex Mazer, Luke Buxton and Justin Hadad. All five spoke to begin the night, expanding on the ideas they've pushed since the start: authenticity, accessibility and storytelling.

"As a thrower, the distance I record is the only thing people see," said Shippee, a junior who heads the website's written content. "But nobody in humanity has numerical value. We, at UNCUT, hope nobody sees athletes as statistics."

From there, the night alternated between keynote speeches and screening of the videos UNCUT will roll out gradually next week. Those highlighted: Jared Martin, who went from a swimming team cast-off to an All-ACC javelin thrower while also excelling academically, and Taylor Moreno, the starting goalie for the women's lacrosse team who's also a talented artist.

In a scheduling conflict reflective of the athletes UNCUT wants to highlight, Martin, a 2019 graduate, missed the event because he was mid-shift at a nearby urgent care facility.

Women's soccer head coach Anson Dorrance spoke on stage, praising U.S. Women's National Team star Megan Rapinoe for using her World Cup platform to champion social justice and UNCUT for highlighting the diversity of thought among athletes that's added "a richness" to his experience as a coach.

"We consider character development to be the most important thing in the evolution of a student-athlete on the women's soccer team here," Dorrance said. "We consider their academic achievements as a second priority. And finally, we address the business of going around trying to beat every other team to death. That's the order."

Later, in his keynote, Lawler candidly detailed the depression and suicidal thoughts he has dealt with for eight years. The linebacker shared his story with the world this summer with a lengthy post on his blog titled "A New Life." A platform like UNCUT, he said, offers a safe space for mental health conversations.

Lawler's speech preceded the main video: the first episode of UNCUT's Tar Heel Talk. In the 12-minute clip, filmed in April in Sutton's Drug Store, Lawler moderates a discussion with Garrison Brooks, Michael Carter and Brianna Pinto on being black. The set-up is similar to that of "The Shop," LeBron James' HBO talk show.

Sitting relaxed around a wooden table, each athlete spoke honestly of their struggles. Carter recalled attending a football booster event where he was the only Black person, and Pinto spoke of a white parent yelling "Don't let that Black girl beat you!" in one of her youth soccer games.

Brooks, Pinto and Carter all attended Wednesday's premiere, and they took the stage afterward to reflect on the experience. Brooks, a junior forward, credited the former NFL quarterback and racial justice advocate Colin Kaepernick for inspiring him to "speak out and not be afraid."

"I think having this platform to inspire others and help them along in their process is so important," Pinto said. "Everybody has a voice, but not everybody has an opportunity to use it."


@DTHSports | sports@dailytarheel.com

Michael Carter discusses his personal experience with what it means to be Black at UNC with fellow student athletes (from left) Jake Lawler, Brianna Pinto and Garrison Brooks on Sept. 18, 2019 at the premiere of UNCUT at Varsity Theatre.

<![CDATA[A look at Appalachian State, UNC football's fourth foe of the year]]> After a 2018 campaign in which his team finished 11-2, former Appalachian State head football coach Scott Satterfield departed for greener pastures, electing to take the Louisville job and try to lead the Cardinals back to prominence.

Some North Carolina fans were keen on bringing Satterfield, one of the hottest young coaches in the country, to Chapel Hill. Instead, they got a second helping of Mack Brown, who returned to Chapel Hill after leaving the program in 1997, while App State tapped Eliah Drinkwitz, the former offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for N.C. State, to helm the program.

So far, things worked out pretty well for both teams.

While UNC is 2-1 on the year, already equaling its amount of wins from last season, App State is 2-0 thus far under the guidance of Drinkwitz. The teams will face off on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in Chapel Hill, with both looking to move a step closer to claiming in-state dominance.

When asked if his familiarity with UNC could help the Mountaineers, Drinkwitz told reporters, "I don't know if it helps other than to understand to understand how good of football players they are and exactly how big of a challenge it is for us to go play and compete against them."

Brown, meanwhile, had praise of his own to heap on his opponent.

"App State's good enough, they could be in the ACC," Brown told reporters this week. "They're that talented."

In 2019, the Mountaineers have handled two inferior opponents ⁠- they crushed East Tennessee State, 42-7, and beat UNC-Charlotte, 56-41 ⁠- and, coming off of a bye week, are well-rested and ready for what may be their toughest opponent of the year in UNC. The Tar Heels are just one of two Power 5 teams that App State will face this season, the other being South Carolina, a team that North Carolina beat 24-20 on August 31.

One of Drinkwitz's most talented players is junior receiver Corey Sutton, a second-team All-Sun Belt selection last season who led the team in touchdown receptions with 10. After being suspended for the first two games of the year due to a marijuana possession charge back in July, Sutton will be, according to Drinkwitz, "Ready to roll."

At 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, Sutton is a tall, physical receiver who could prove troublesome for an undermanned UNC secondary. Without starting cornerback Patrice Rene, who tore his ACL against Miami, the Tar Heels allowed Wake Forest's Sage Surratt to tally 169 yards and a touchdown in Friday's loss.

In the App State run game, junior Darrynton Evans has followed up a dominant 2018 campaign with 333 yards and four touchdowns this year. Against UNC-Charlotte alone, the reigning Sun Belt rushing leader amassed 234 yards and found the end zone thrice.

How the Tar Heels plan on containing App State's offensive weapons will be something to watch for. Drinkwitz, for his part, was sure to give credit to the North Carolina defense - and Brown, for turning the UNC program around so quickly.

"I think they're one of the top 25 or 26 in the country in third-down defense. That's what they're trying to do, and he does a really good job of it," Drinkwitz said.

"... He's been a good football coach for a long time. He's been around this state for a while. So he does a really good job."


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<![CDATA[Sam Howell aims to become a vocal leader moving forward for UNC football]]> Sam Howell doesn't like to say too much.

His answers to the media are typically short and sweet, and his teammates describe him as being fairly quiet. Junior receiver Beau Corrales said the first-year quarterback isn't a "rah-rah type of guy" after UNC's season-opening win over South Carolina.

"But the confidence he has," Corrales said, "you can feel that."

That's the swagger that Howell carried himself with from the moment he stepped under center for the Tar Heels. Never too high, never too low -- always letting his actions speak louder than his words.

After North Carolina's first loss of the year to Wake Forest last Friday, though, Howell thought it was time to adjust his approach.

"I just want to make sure my guys are motivated enough," he said after practice on Tuesday. "I just want to make sure everyone's doing what they're supposed to be doing. I know if there's times where I need to step up and say something, then I will do that."

Players on both sides of the ball have taken notice.

Redshirt junior defensive back Myles Wolfolk said he initially saw the Indian Trial, North Carolina, native "coming into his own" as a vocal leader during the team's second game against Miami, but he believes it was last week on the road when Howell truly recognized the importance of speaking up.

In the contest versus Wake Forest, UNC had only three points on the board heading into the fourth quarter.

"We've just gotta come out of the gate focused," Howell said. "Sometimes, it's gonna be too late, like we saw with Wake Forest. It's too late to just start playing really hard in the fourth quarter."

Though he admits he also wasn't mentally sharp on every snap against the Demon Deacons, Howell hopes his voice can spark life into his team early in games moving forward.

It's a mindset he's begun to embrace in practice, as well.

"Before, he was just sitting back, and he'll watch," sophomore receiver Dyami Brown said. "... He started talking more in the huddle (this week). Before we go out and run plays, he'll say something. Even during the plays, like when the play's over with, he'll say something. Like, 'We need to do this. We need to do that.'"

A hot start to the season - highlighted by six touchdown passes and zero interceptions - has raised expectations for Howell. Last week, ESPN ranked him as the best true freshman in all of college football so far this season.

But in the matchup with the Demon Deacons, Howell had just 15 passing yards at halftime, finishing with 182 yards through the air and two touchdowns.

Howell understands that it'll take time for him to be the player and leader he wants to be. And he said he's OK with that.

"I get better every day," Howell said. "I grow every day in every category of my life, whether that's on the field, leadership, things like that, so it definitely just comes with the process."

Some may think it's a tall order to ask a true first-year, one who just celebrated his 19th birthday on Monday, to be a key voice in the locker room.

His veteran teammates certainly seem to think otherwise, though.

"The opponent doesn't care about your age," Wolfolk said. "So, I think him realizing that is gonna help him out."


@DTHSports | sports@dailytarheel.com

<![CDATA['Obviously, I'm disappointed': UNC men's soccer ties Davidson in no-score game]]> With just four seconds remaining, first-year Sebastian Berhalter whipped a free kick into the box looking for a game-winning header.

It looked like the No. 11 North Carolina men's soccer team was going to escape Tuesday's non-conference game as victors when junior Santiago Herrera put his head to the ball for a forceful shot.

However, the Tar Heels (3-1-2) came away with defeated looks when the ball found the Davidson (1-3-1) goalkeeper's hands. The last second save earned the Wildcats a 0-0 draw, an excellent result from their perspective.

UNC, on the other hand, was disappointed with the outcome, which came against a team whose only victory this season came against Wake Technical Community College in overtime.

"It's a little unfortunate," senior captain Mauricio Pineda said. "Obviously we want to win every game."

Head coach Carlos Somoano was a bit more blunt in his response: "Obviously, I'm disappointed."

The Tar Heels dominated the stat sheet on a scoreless night, leading 14-1 in shots and 3-0 in shots on goal.

But Davidson "parked the bus," and would at times play 10 men behind the ball on defense. The usually potent UNC attack struggled to capitalize on its chances.

"We don't really focus on the opponent too much," Pineda said. "We just try to stick to our game plan to the best that we can."

UNC's defense, on the other hand, clearly came to play, not allowing a shot after the 12th minute of the game. That means Davidson had zero shots in 98 minutes of game time.

"They had one shot and a shutout," junior defender Matt Constant said. "So we did our job pretty well."

The North Carolina back line has held firm the last four games, allowing just one goal over that stretch.

"We just keep doing the same stuff," Constant said. "Stay as a unit, cover each other, bail each other out. If we can limit teams to less than three or four shots a game, I think our chances are pretty good of keeping a shutout."

Because Davidson mostly sat back on defense, the UNC defense was also responsible for starting the North Carolina attack. That type of gameplay meant that there needed to be a lot of crisp passes to get the ball upfield.

"We just passed the ball too slow," Somoano said. "It always gave them comfort to be able to shift around and get numbers behind the ball."

Davidson continued to stifle the Tar Heel attack into overtime. UNC only manufactured two shots after regulation, both coming in the second overtime.

"In general, I don't know what it was," Somoano said. "The legs, the minds looked tired. We played a tired game today from the outset."

Somoano added that he believes UNC may have fell victim to the student-athlete grind. He mentioned that the team may have been tired because it was just four days away from its last game, a 3-1 win at Virginia Tech, and that many of his players had exams this week.

That doesn't bode well for the Tar Heels and their upcoming schedule. The team will turn around and play No. 16 Notre Dame on Friday, and will need to get its energy back. Then, UNC will have another ranked ACC matchup against Duke the following week.

In an up-and-down season so far, the team knows that a short memory is crucial.

"The only thing we can do now," Pineda said, "is focus on our next game."


@DTHSports | sports@dailytarheel.com

<![CDATA[Tar Heels in the Pros: Cole Holcomb stands out in first two games]]> With the first two weeks of the 2019 NFL regular season completed, a few of the younger former Tar Heels have had performances worth noting in the season's early games.

Linebacker Cole Holcomb has seen plenty of quality action for the Washington Redskins in his rookie season, while quarterback Mitchell Trubisky hasn't been able to sustain the high level of play he displayed at the end of last season.

Cole Holcomb

The Redskins selected Holcomb in the fifth round of this year's draft to pair him with veteran linebacker Jonathan Bostic.

Through the first two games of this season, Holcomb has been on the field for 114 of Washington's 145 defensive snaps.

Despite losing both games, Holcomb has been a solid option for the Redskins' defense. The former second-team All-ACC linebacker has tallied 14 total tackles, nine solo tackles and three tackles for loss in his first two NFL games.

Holcomb's seven total defensive stops in Washington's matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles were tied for the most among all defenders in the NFL during the season's opening weekend.

Holcomb's promising start to his career certainly hasn't shrunk the large shoes he has to fill. The last UNC linebacker to be drafted by the Redskins was Chris Hanburger in 1965. Hanburger played all 187 games of his Hall of Fame career with Washington.

Mitch Trubisky

Trubisky's noticeable improvement from his rookie year to his second season in the NFL seemed to indicate that the young quarterback's career could be trending upward.

In his second year with the Chicago Bears, Trubisky's completion percentage, passing yards, passing touchdowns and quarterback rating all rose from his rookie year numbers.

But over the first two games of this season, that upward trend hasn't continued.

The Bears have posted a 1-1 record with a 10-3 loss to the Green Bay Packers and a 16-14 win over the Denver Broncos. In those games, Trubisky was unable to score a single touchdown, and against the Packers, he threw an interception in the final two minutes of the game.

Trubisky is completing 58.3 percent of his passes, has thrown for 348 yards and has a quarterback rating of just 65 so far this season.

After helping lead the Bears to a 12-4 record in last year's regular season, the former Tar Heel quarterback threw for 303 yards and a touchdown in a 16-15 loss against the Eagles in a Wild Card game.

It will be interesting to see if Trubisky can rebound from this slow start to his 2019 campaign and return to the strong form that he showed he is capable of going forward.

Mack Hollins

After missing the entire 2018 NFL season due to a surgery to repair a groin injury, Hollins made his return to the field in Philadelphia's first two games of the 2019 season.

The 2017 fourth round draft pick caught five of his eight targets for 50 yards against the Falcons in a 24-20 loss during Philadelphia's second game of the season.

In Hollins' rookie season, the wide receiver caught 16 passes for 226 yards and appeared in all 16 regular season games. With the young wideout finally returning from the injured reserve list, the Eagles can see what he is capable of after an entire season off the field to learn and develop.


@DTHSports | sports@dailytarheel.com

<![CDATA[Ryan Burnett's third-place finish a bright spot for UNC men's golf]]> DURHAM, N.C. - The North Carolina men's golf team placed seventh of 13 teams with an 8-over-par performance at the 2019 Rod Myers Invitational in Durham this weekend.

While sophomore Ryan Burnett finished third with a 9-under-par performance, the Tar Heels fell into an early hole in the first round, with a score of an 11-over-par 299, that they never quite recovered from.

"We became a little soft after that, and that's exactly what we don't want to be," head coach Andrew DiBitetto said. "We want to overcome adversity and overcome bad shots, because they are going to happen over the course of 18 holes, 36 holes, 54 holes."

Despite finishing the second round five shots under par, the Tar Heels were unable to make up significant ground on the leaders, sitting at seventh through the first two rounds. Burnett, meanwhile, held a two-stroke lead going into the final round.

"He's been playing great," DiBitetto said. "He's got a lot of confidence going. He's always been a good ball-striker. Right now the putter has been pretty good too, to start the year."

After missing several makable putts, Burnett was able to keep his composure and end the tournament on a high note. He holed in an eagle on the final hole, prompting his teammates to erupt with joy.

Still, Burnett was not satisfied about his showing in the final round, which saw him fall to third place to finish the event.

"Golf is just kind of a funny game sometimes," Burnett said. "I really had it going in the 36-hole day, and you're just playing hole after hole. You kinda get lost in the round, and you're not really paying attention to anything else. And in the final round, you just hit a few wayward shots.

"I wasn't giving myself the opportunities that I did the day before, and the putter wasn't quite working."

While every member of the team had his difficulties, the Tar Heels remained united, providing support for one another. Because of that, Burnett said he felt he needed to finish the final round strong.

"I think that's it's kind of the mentality of our team," Burnett said. "It's just, never stop fighting, even if it's not going your way. I definitely did not have my best stuff really all day, but I knew I just gotta keep making swings and keep trying to execute golf shots and eventually, it will happen."

Burnett was not the only player to commend the team's culture. First-year Austin Greaser, who finished in a tie for 50th, completed what was just the second tournament of his collegiate career and has already bonded with his teammates.

"It's fun to be around guys that love golf and love the sport as much as you do, because you don't always get that back where you're from or in high school golf," Greaser said.

Confidence is essential in golf, and having a team that encourages each other is key to maintaining it. UNC's performance over the weekend may not be considered a positive one. But the close relationships they have developed provide hope that they will be able to bounce back.

"We've got a really tight-knit team," Greaser said. "We all have a lot of fun, and the coaches really cap it off. DiBitetto and (assistant coach Matt) Clark are just great coaches to have. Thrilled to be a part of this team and looking forward to the rest of the season."


@DTHSports | sports@dailytarheel.com

<![CDATA[Mack Brown faces familiar foe in Appalachian State this weekend]]> The North Carolina football team will face an unfamiliar foe in Appalachian State on Saturday, a team the Tar Heels have only played one time in their history. (In 1940, UNC throttled App State, 56-6.)

Head coach Mack Brown, though, is very familiar with the Mountaineers. Appalachian gave Brown his first ever head coaching job in 1983.

During Brown's sole season in Boone, he led the Mountaineers to a 6-5 record before going to Oklahoma to become the offensive coordinator. But Boone left a lasting impression on Brown and his family.

Hugh Morton, who Brown referred to as a "mountain of a man" and an "entrepreneur for the state," was Brown's best friend while he was in Boone. Morton would frequently invite Brown to his house overlooking a 40-acre trout lake.

"I was making $38,500 as the head coach at Appalachian State," Brown said "I hadn't won a game, and I told Mr. Morton, 'If I make some money, I'm going to live on this lake.'"

Around the same time Brown was hired by Texas in 1997 and making hundreds of thousands of dollars, he bought a house on that same lake and has lived there ever since.

Over the years, the Appalachian State football program has undergone a transformation. In 1997, the Mountaineers were still competing in the FCS and were members of the Southern Conference. Now, they are an FBS team and have won three straight Sun Belt Conference championships.

"To see what that program has turned into is really, really rewarding for me," Brown said.

Appalachian State has established itself as one of the best Group of Five programs in the country and is known for being able to hang with larger programs. One of the most famous games in the program's history was the historic upset over a fifth-ranked Michigan team, 34-32, in 2007.

Brown said the Tar Heels are not looking past Appalachian State to a matchup with No. 1 Clemson, even suggesting that he believes the Mountaineers are good enough to play in the ACC.

"If you start looking at App State and what their seniors have accomplished the last few years," Brown said, "It's the best in our state."

North Carolina must establish itself as the best team in North Carolina to get to where Brown wants it to be. Winning this weekend would be a step in the right direction.

In order to beat Appalachian State, the Tar Heels will need to do something they haven't yet had to this season: respond to a close loss. After falling 24-18 to Wake Forest last week, the team's toughness will be tested.

UNC responded in the later stages of that game, scoring 18 second-half points after being down 21-0 at halftime. This time, they will look to bounce back after having an entire week to think about a loss.

"You play South Carolina, you play Miami, you play Wake," Brown said. "All three teams are very good, and you've got to play hard every week for us to have a chance to win. And this week will be no different."

Make no mistake: despite a familiarity with the opposition, Brown will look to make sure that his current team, not his former one, walks out of Kenan Stadium with a victory.


@DTHSports | sports@dailytarheel.com

<![CDATA[For UNC field hockey, quick start leads to 8-0 win over William & Mary]]> Before the No. 1 North Carolina field hockey team(5-0) beat William & Mary (1-4), 8-0 on Sunday, head coach Karen Shelton had a goal for her team.

"We wanted to have a quick start today," Shelton said. "We had not scored in the first quarter in the four previous games."

It didn't take long for the Tar Heels to achieve that goal.

In the third minute, senior midfielder Megan DuVernois scored off UNC's first penalty corner of the afternoon, giving her team a 1-0 lead.

Two minutes after the first goal, senior forward Catherine Hayden scored off a pass from sophomore forward Erin Matson. Hayden deflected the ball toward the goal, and Tribe goalkeeper Kimi Jones was unable to stop it as the ball headed into the back of the net.

Hayden scored twice more in the half, and her three consecutive goals gave the Tar Heels a 4-0 lead at the break. Her outing on Sunday was the third hat trick of her collegiate career.

"She's a scorer and she gets herself in good position," Shelton said. "She's got that knack and I was happy for her to get on the board."

Hayden has been getting on the board a lot lately. In North Carolina's past two games, Hayden has scored five goals after only scoring one in the first three games.

"I play pretty high up the field. I like to work around the goalie," Hayden said. "I like to screen the goalies, so they can't see. A lot of people think it's funny that I'm not afraid to stand there. I just play into it: that is my role, that is what I do."

With a commanding lead over the Tribe, the Tar Heels refused to let up. Senior forward Marissa Creatore, sophomore forward Riley Fulmer, junior midfielder Eva Smolenaars and Matson all scored goals in the second half.

In the past two games, UNC's backline has found its groove. In the team's first three games, opponents scored six goals. But in the past two, North Carolina hasn't allowed any.

On Sunday, the Tribe took 10 shots in the contest, four on goal; they never found the back of the net.

"I think we are doing a really great job of starting to gel," junior goalkeeper Amanda Hendry said. "Our defense is pretty young, but we are really starting to connect with each other. I think we are doing a great job of getting in front of people, stopping the ball from even getting into the circle."

Despite the dominant win, Shelton remains focused on the future.

"I am pleased with our development," Shelton said. "We're not as we will be. We have potential to keep growing, and that is what we need to do all season long."


@DTHSports | sports@dailytarheel.com

<![CDATA[Areas of improvement for UNC football after loss to Wake Forest]]> The North Carolina football team's 24-18 loss to Wake Forest on Friday was nothing if a recalibration of expectations. After a thrilling home win over Miami, the Tar Heels were 2-0 for the first time since 2014. Fans streaming out of Kenan Memorial Stadium - who perhaps had a few too many White Claws, thanks to a new stadium alcohol policy - started that most predictable of chants:

The Wake Forest game was a sobering wake-up call. The Tar Heels did nothing for an entire half, got dusted by Sage Surratt, brother of UNC football's Chazz, battled through multiple injuries and lost to a good, not great conference foe.

Still, though, North Carolina had a chance to win it at the end. Hope is not lost. UNC will get Clemson, all right: the Tigers come to Chapel Hill on Sept. 28. Here's what head coach Mack Brown's team will have to work on in the meantime - namely, in a Saturday tune-up against Appalachian State:

Do something - anything - in the first half

Here's every UNC drive before halftime of Friday's game: Punt, punt, punt, fumble, punt, punt, punt, punt, punt. The Tar Heels had two first downs in the first two quarters, and quarterback Sam Howell, who had just been crowned the No. 1 true freshman in college football by ESPN, was unceremoniously pulled after going 5-10 for 15 yards in the first half.

North Carolina gained just 71 yards as a whole in that span - which was all cool, as Wake Forest began the game with three punts of its own, but then the Demon Deacons found the end zone on three consecutive drives.

Halftime: Wake Forest 21, UNC 0.

That won't cut it.

Get creative with depth issues

The Tar Heels sorely missed the talents of cornerback Patrice Rene and center Nick Polino, a pair of starters who went down against Miami and will be out for extended time. After being sacked seven times in UNC's first two games, Howell was sacked five times on Friday alone, while Wake Forest's Surratt racked up 169 yards and a touchdown against UNC's undermanned secondary.

With Polino, a senior leader of UNC's offensive line, out indefinitely, Brown and coordinator Phil Longo could look to utilize more dump-offs and short, quick passes to alleviate pressure on Howell and keep defenses off-balance.

Problems in the secondary will be more difficult to mask. Rene is out for the year with a torn ACL; North Carolina will need to rely on its younger corners, namely sophomore Trey Morrison and first-year Storm Duck, to step up.

A more active front line could make things more difficult on opposing quarterbacks, too. The Tar Heels sacked Wake Forest's Jamie Newman just once on Friday.

Tell Sam Howell every quarter is the fourth quarter

After getting pulled in the second quarter, Howell returned for the second half and was much improved, especially in the fourth. He threw for 120 yards and a pair of scores in the period, helping the Tar Heels score 18 unanswered points and leading a furious rally that ultimately fell short.

It's unclear what has made Howell so dependable in the clutch this season, but whatever it is, Brown needs to find out. Instead of pregame warmups, have Howell play 45 minutes of regulation football. Have the whole team in on it, with players holding up four fingers before the opening kickoff.

Whatever it takes to help Howell replicate that late-magic throughout an entire game - because sometimes, as was the case against the Demon Deacons, an exceptional fourth quarter isn't enough.


@DTHSports | sports@dailytarheel.com

UNC-Chapel Hill freshman quarterback, Sam Howell (7), runs the football as he's chased by the Wake Forest defenders in the loss against Wake Forest. UNC-CH lost 18-24 on Friday, September 13, 2019.

<![CDATA[UNC volleyball unable to close out close sets in 3-0 loss to Michigan State]]> The North Carolina volleyball team fell to Michigan State in three straight sets on Sunday in East Lansing, Michigan, marking UNC's third loss in a row this season.

What happened?

North Carolina (1-6) fought hard against Michigan State (6-1) but a few late mistakes hurt the Tar Heels and sent them home after three sets, 25-21, 25-21 and 25-13.

The opening two sets were very close, with a total of 16 ties and 10 lead changes between the two teams.

"The first two sets were the quality of play I want for us in terms of taking really good swings offensively, making really good digs and being in it," head coach Joe Sagula said. "We were in both sets for a long time until they got a two or three point run and that was the difference."

After both teams were able to make significant offensive runs, the Tar Heels tied the score at 19 in the first set. But an older, more experienced MSU team proved to be too much as the Spartans overpowered North Carolina to secure the set.

"I felt like we were able to sustain a high level of play for a much longer period of time versus a high quality team," Sagula said. "So those takeaways make us feel like we're moving in the right direction."

However, the third set was when UNC ran out of gas, which led to three runs of four or more unanswered points for the Spartans. Michigan State made sure to capitalize on all the mistakes and put the game away with a 25-13 victory in the final set.

Despite the loss, Sagula was not disappointed with the effort he saw from his team.

"They are a bigger, more physical, athletic team than we saw on Friday," Sagula said. "We knew it was going to be a tough battle but the irony of it is that I thought we played much better volleyball through the first two sets."

Who stood out?

Sagula was pleased with first-year Parker Austin's performance after she recorded nine kills, a team-high against Michigan State.

"She had some good hits, did a pretty good job today," Sagula said.

He was also impressed with Carly Peck, who made the first start of her career as a first-year on Sunday. Peck finished the match with four kills on 20 total attacks and four digs.

"Although the numbers didn't show it, she had a really good impact in her overall play," Sagula said.

When was it decided?

The game was decided about halfway through the third set when the Spartans began to pull ahead, 17-9. North Carolina tried to fight its way back into the match with a run of three straight points to counter, but UNC was unable to bounce back and force a fourth set.

Why does it matter?

"I'm encouraged," Sagula said. "I'm certainly not happy with the results, but I think this is a sign that we're moving in the right direction."

With a young squad, the Tar Heels are continuing to learn after each match and looking to finish out matches stronger in the final plays.

When do they play next?

After its five-match road trip, North Carolina will return to Carmichael Arena to play VCU on Friday, September 20 at 6:30 p.m.


@DTHSports | sports@dailytarheel.com

<![CDATA[North Carolina field hockey defeats William & Mary 8-0 on Sunday]]> The No. 1 UNC field hockey team dominated in their home game against William & Mary, beating the Tribe 8-0 on Sunday's afternoon matchup, maintaining their undefeated record and setting a 28-game winning streak.

What happened?

The Tar Heels (5-0) came out of the gate swinging and didn't let up the entire 60 minutes of play, dominating both offensively and defensively. UNC's offense scored eight goals while the defense held William & Mary (1-4) scoreless, allowing only four shots on goal the whole game.

Senior Megan DuVernois got the Tar Heels on the board first with her second goal of the season within the first two minutes of the game. Momentum quickly increased with a second North Carolina goal coming moments later as senior Catherine Hayden scored her fourth of the season on a long pass from sophomore Erin Matson. Hayden followed up with another goal off a rebound in the first, giving the Tar Heels a substantial lead.

The second period was slower in action, but a late goal by Hayden assisted by sophomore Riley Fulmer gave the offense a boost.

In the third, senior Marissa Creatore scored her fifth of the season on an unassisted goal and Fulmer put the Tar Heels up by one more with a feed from sophomore Abby Pitcairn. Junior Eva Smolenaars scoring on an assist by Yentl Leemans from a penalty corner sealed the deal for UNC with a seven-point lead.

The Tar Heel's offensive momentum did not slow in the fourth. Matson scored in the first few minutes of the period off an assist by Leemans, scoring her sixth of the season. North Carolina put up a season high of eight goals in one game.

A William & Mary goal in the fourth was waived off, giving UNC their second shutout of the season after beating Penn 6-0 last week, too.

Who stood out?

Hayden finished this game with a hat trick. The senior scored three of the eight North Carolina goals, doubling her season record from three coming into this matchup to six.

When was it decided?

The Tar Heels had a fast start, coming out with three quick goals in the first period. The team has struggled in their first four games getting offense started early - the team previously did not have a goal in the first period - but the Tar Heels made sure to break that trend by scoring three in the first against William & Mary.

Why does it matter?

This William & Mary matchup was North Carolina's last game before its ACC opener on Sept. 20. With this win, the team remains in the top spot as it works towards another conference title.

North Carolina moves on with a 28-game winning streak, hoping to beat the current program record of 29 consecutive wins.

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels head back into battle against Louisville at 5 p.m. on Sept. 20 at Shelton Stadium in Chapel Hill.


@DTHSports | sports@dailytarheel.com

<![CDATA[A look at UNC basketball's conference schedule for 2019-20]]> With the ACC's release of the 2019-20 men's basketball schedule on Thursday, the Tar Heels now have a complete picture of their slate for the coming season.

Following an exhibition against Winson-Salem State, North Carolina will begin the campaign, oddly enough, on Nov. 6 at home against Notre Dame. It will be the first time UNC opens the season with a conference game since a 1966 win against Clemson.

After a road matchup with Virginia on either Friday, Dec. 6 or Saturday, Dec. 7, the Tar Heels will begin conference play in earnest with a Jan. 4 game against Georgia Tech. In fact, 2019-20 is the first season in which ACC teams will play 20 conference games, an increase that comes after seven seasons of an 18-game league schedule.

UNC will play six different ACC teams twice: Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Wake Forest, Virginia, N.C. State and Duke.

The Tar Heels will host four additional conferences foes - Boston College, Clemson, Georgia Tech and Miami - and visit four additional teams on the road - Florida State, Louisville, Syracuse and Virginia Tech.

North Carolina will face the Blue Devils on Saturday, Feb. 8, a notable change from the usual weekday game for the teams' first matchup of the new year.

UNC's last game of the regular season will be at Duke on March 7.

Upon the schedule's release Thursday night, it seemed the ACC had left the door open for a little chicanery, as both UNC-Duke matchups were initially listed as being broadcasted on "ESPN/2/U/ACCN." A most devious scenario would have seen the ACC broadcasting both games on the ACC Network (ACCN), forcing millions of college basketball fans to pony up for the newly-launched channel to see what are regularly the most-watched college basketball games of the regular season.

Later that night, however, the ACC seemingly backed down, as both games were then listed as being broadcasted on ESPN. All told, 19 of UNC's 20 regular-season conference games will be televised nationally by an ESPN channel, including ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU or the ACC Network.

The Tar Heels' previously announced non-conference slate is highlighted by dates with Ohio State, Gonzaga, and UCLA, as well as a November trip to the Bahamas for the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament.

North Carolina will look to follow up a 2018-19 season in which the team went 29-7 and captured a share of the ACC regular season title.


@DTHSports | sports@dailytarheel.com

<![CDATA[UNC women's soccer suffers first loss of season to Arkansas, 2-0]]> The No. 1 North Carolina women's soccer team (7-1-0) was defeated 2-0 by Arkansas (6-1-1) on the road on Sunday, giving the Tar Heels their first loss of the season.

What happened?

In the first half, both teams battled and finished the half with four shots each, but the game remained scoreless. North Carolina senior Bridgette Andrzejewski was the only player with a shot on goal in the first half. The Razorbacks set up an aggressive defense, earning them 12 fouls and a pair of yellow cards.

To start the second half, the Tar Heels made a goalkeeper change as sophomore Claudia Dickey stepped in for first-year Marz Josephson. In the 63rd minute, Arkansas scored the first goal of the game after a strong counterattack to take a 1-0 lead.

The Tar Heels remained active on offense, but were unable to put the ball in the back of the net despite outshooting the Razorbacks 12-10 on the day. Arkansas buried another goal in the 81st minute, and used dominant defensive play to seal the win.

"They outworked us - every pass for us was difficult, it seemed," head coach Anson Dorrance said. "Their pressure was tremendous, and we were not able to break it often enough to create a chance."

Who stood out?

Junior Alessia Russo had two out of the three shots on goal for the Tar Heels, while Dorrance praised the play of first-year forward Isabel Cox, who caught the eye of her head coach with solid play.

"Even in this kind of game, where it was very difficult given how aggressive they were playing, Cox did a lot of very good things," Dorrance said.

When was it decided?

Arkansas pulled ahead in the middle of the second half, and was able to hold off the Tar Heels for the remainder of the game. Despite a decent amount of chances, the Tar Heels were unable to capitalize.

Then, with 10 minutes to play, the Razorbacks went up 2-0 to secure the win.

Why does it matter?

This is North Carolina's first loss of the season, coming after a Thursday win against Wake Forest at home. After making the trek to Arkansas, the Tar Heels dropped a chance to be undefeated going into conference play.

"The nice thing about what happens now is we get to train a bit. And we do need to train," Dorrance said. "For the first part of this season, we were tapering into every single game. We'll actually have four training sessions before we have to play Louisville. So from that perspective ,the timing of the loss is good for us, because now we actually have a block to work in."

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels will play at Louisville on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. This will be the first ACC game for North Carolina this season after finishing at the top of the conference last year.


@DTHSports | sports@dailytarheel.com

<![CDATA[Mucherera and second unit inspire UNC women's soccer win over Wake Forest]]> Midway through the first half against Wake Forest on Thursday, the North Carolina women's soccer team was locked in a tight battle.

That was when UNC head coach Anson Dorrance decided he needed to make a change.

In the 28th minute, he subbed in six new players - including redshirt senior Ru Mucherera, who proved to be the difference maker in an eventual 4-0 win.

In the 36th minute, Mucherera got credit for an assist on the first goal of the match. She fed the ball to junior Lois Joel, who delivered a long cross into the box to an open Zoe Redei. The senior headed the ball high into the air and past the goalkeeper for a 1-0 lead.

Less than two minutes later, Mucherera kicked in a goal of her own. After making a strong run just outside of the box, the forward collected an airborne ball using her chest. She brought the ball down to her weak foot and then blasted it into the back of the net.

Mucherera knows her role on the team is to bring a passion to every match, one that helped the Tar Heels secure their victory against the Demon Deacons.

"It's senior year - I'm just literally like, 'Give it your all,'" Mucherera said. "I come off the field, and I'm wheezing, but at least I'm on the field, and I did my job. I did what (Dorrance) told me to do. I'm also working for my teammates; it's not just me."

Dorrance, for his part, was impressed with Muchera's outing.

"I'm really pleased with Ru's performance," he said. "...This is probably the best she's played so far this season. I thought her goal in the first half was absolutely majestic."

The Hall of Fame coach also acknowledged her passion, then joked that she sometimes takes it to the extreme.

"She's just a wonderful kid that plays with huge passion," Dorrance said. "In fact, sometimes reckless passion, where she picks up yellow cards. We're always so afraid in practice she's gonna take out one of my stars."

Junior forward Alessia Russo, who added two late goals of her own, spoke to Mucherera's drive.

"She practices how she plays, so I think that's important, and it sets a standard," Russo said. "And you can see it on the field on game day."

It was Dorrance's decision to trust his bench players, including Mucherera, that defined the match. The Tar Heels were able to produce two goals before halftime. The goals and assists in both of these scores were solely credited to bench players.

"I think that's one of the most important parts of our team this year, especially," Russo said. "We have so much depth. We can throw anyone out there, and they are going to do their job."

That depth will be one of the largest determinants in whether the Tar Heels can reach back-to-back national championships. This time, it was Mucherera who fueled the UNC victory. According to Russo, someone on that bench will always be expected to produce that same fire.

"They bring the energy every game," Russo said. "It's no different today."


@DTHSports | sports@dailytarheel.com

<![CDATA['We're not playing patty cake': UNC men's crew looks for recognition as club team ]]> UNC men's crew is looking to make a name for itself both in the collegiate rowing world and on UNC's campus.

While the UNC women's crew is an NCAA Division I program, men's crew is considered a club team. The difference between the two teams comes down to Title IX - a federal law that prohibits discrimination under any education program receiving federal financial assistance on the basis of sex.

UNC men's crew president Cameron Gumbel said although there are varsity-funded men's rowing programs, such as in the Ivy Leagues, they are not recognized by the NCAA.

The lack of funding does not detract from his teammates' hard work, Gumbel said.

"We're working just as hard as any of the other varsity teams out here," he said.

Assistant coach Justin Serovich, a junior studying economics and sports administration, said the team races against the best. The head varsity coach is Lisa Schlenker, a former U.S. rowing Olympian.

Schlenker said she will take anyone onto the team, despite their experience, and teach them the necessary skills needed to be an exceptional rower.

"We always train them as a D-I program even though they're a club," Schlenker said. "We're not playing patty cake."

Jackson Hollingsworth, a first-year studying business administration, joined the team after signing up at FallFest. While Hollingsworth had no rowing experience, he said his competitive nature pushed him to give the sport a try. Although there was a learning curve, Hollingsworth said he sees improvement.

"It's very surprising to see how much our times have dropped from just when we first started," Hollingsworth said.

Being a rower entails attending two practices a day, including one at 6:15 a.m. Serovich emphasized the difficulty of practices.

"You have to physically push yourself as far as you can go," Serovich said.

The rowers rely heavily on the coxswain, the person responsible for steering and getting the rowers in a rhythm. The coxswains on the UNC Men's Rowing team are all women.

"To be a coxswain, it's very mentally tough because you're steering the boat," Serovich said. "You're responsible for those eight guys."

This hard work and dedication has paid off in recent years, Gumbel said, as the team placed 11th at last year's nationals and fourth at the previous two. Some rowers said this is especially impressive for a team in the South, where rowing is not as popular.

"As far as the ACRA (American Collegiate Rowing Association) goes, since I've been here for the most part, we've kind of been an ACRA powerhouse," Gumbel said.

Schlenker said she has big hopes for the team this year and hopes to maximize their talent.

"My goal for the year is to get these guys to realize that they have greater potential than what they know they have," Schlenker said.

The rowing team wants to sustain and foster this success by recruiting new rowers. The team is trying to reach as many male students as they can, regardless of their experience level.

Sam Sands, a sophomore studying history and business administration, is in charge of recruitment.

"Throughout the whole recruiting process, our goal was to make sure that people know there's a rowing team, make sure that people know they can join the rowing team and then the third step of that is to get them to come try it out," Sands said.

Sands said he has worked diligently this fall to promote the team by handing out flyers, Pit-sitting and attending FallFest.

"Come give it a try," Sands said. "You never know if you're going to be a good rower until you sit down in the boat and try it for the first time."

The team will celebrate 50 years of rowing at UNC on the weekend of April 3 to April 5, 2020. Gumbel said the team is using the weekend as an opportunity to raise funds for the Men's Crew Boathouse Project, which includes plans to build a new boathouse.

The UNC Men's Rowing team extends beyond the boathouse. For many of them, their teammates are like their family.

"Those are the guys that if you need help in a class, they're always going to help you," Serovich said. "If you need help in some type of social setting, with family, with anything, they're always there."

For many of the rowers on the team, their love for the sport and its people is indescribable.

"It's really just this intangible feeling," Sands said.


<![CDATA[UNC volleyball lets close match slip away in 3-1 loss to Miami (Ohio) ]]> On Friday, the North Carolina volleyball team lost a non-conference match to Miami (Ohio) by a score of 3-1 in Rochester, Michigan. This loss dropped UNC's record to 1-5 on the season, while Miami (Ohio) improved to 4-3.

What happened?

Early on, the Tar Heels struggled to get much going against Miami (Ohio). They dropped the first two sets before snagging one win in a 25-22 victory in the third set.

"Overall I'm pretty disappointed, obviously," North Carolina head coach Joe Sagula said. "I thought we had a pretty good week of preparation, but finding ways to sustain a consistent level of play throughout a match is the biggest problem we have right now."

The final three sets were a different story for UNC. North Carolina came close to winning almost every set, but was unable to finish strong in some of the final moments.

The first set was the largest margin of defeat, with North Carolina dropping the set, 25-19. The second, third and fourth set were all decided by three points or less.

"We're letting a lot of close ones slip away from us right now," Sagula said. "I'm hoping that this team continues to learn each week what we need to do, how to finish better and be better after 20 points."

Who stood out?

A few players for North Carolina had standout performances in Friday's close matchup. On offense, Skyy Howard, Parker Austin and Skylar Wine were the main attackers with 10, 12 and 10 kills, respectively. Aristea Tantai chipped in with eight as well.

"I thought our middle hitting was the best its been all year," Sagula said. "Combined we hit over .300 with Aristea Tantai and Skyy Howard. They combined for 18 kills on 40 swings and that was great."

Austin also had 12 digs to go along with her 12 kills, good for a double-double.

"Thats great for a freshman to be able to do that," Sagula said.

When was it decided?

Miami (Ohio) jumped ahead early with a 2-0 lead and never looked back.

Sagula mentioned how North Carolina's serve receiving and passing, which featured five service errors in the fourth set, were too inconsistent to bring the Tar Heels back. After all of the inconsistency, the momentum for Miami (Ohio) was too much for UNC to overcome and force its way back into the match.

Why does it matter?

The Tar Heels have shown their potential in the last three games. After not winning a set in their first three matches, North Carolina has won six in its three most recent games.

Despite this loss against Miami (Ohio), UNC is continually improving on its efforts from earlier in the season.

When do they play next?

The North Carolina volleyball team is back in action on Sunday, September 15th where it will face a very strong Michigan State team at 1 p.m. in East Lansing, Michigan.


@DTHSports | sports@dailytarheel.com

<![CDATA[North Carolina men's soccer secures comeback win over Hokies, 3-1]]> The No. 18 North Carolina men's soccer team (3-1-1, ACC 1-0) defeated No. 9 Virginia Tech (4-1, ACC 0-1) on Friday, 3-1, to win its third straight game and first conference game of the season.

What happened?

The game against Virginia Tech was UNC's first ACC game of the 2019 season. Early in this matchup, Virginia Tech tested North Carolina.

In the first 19 minutes of play, the Tar Heels had no shots on goal while the Hokies had three. Neither team could find the back of the net.

This continued until the 23rd minute when Virginia Tech's Brendan Moyers threw the ball in and teammate Kristo Strickler was able to head the ball past UNC goalie Alec Smir. With that goal, the Hokies took an early lead, 1-0.

Although the Tar Heels were down, they rallied to bounce back. Less than five minutes after Virginia Tech's goal, UNC's Jelani Pieters scored to tie the game, his first goal of the season.

After tying the game, it didn't take long for UNC to take the lead. In the 32nd minute, Mauricio Pineda scored on an assist from Jeremy Kelly, giving North Carolina a 2-1 lead.

In the first half, Virginia Teach had five shots on goal to UNC's three. In addition, the Hokies had five corner kicks while the Tar Heels had just one. Even though Virginia Tech led North Carolina in these offensive categories, UNC was able to capitalize on its opportunities and minimize the Virginia Tech offense.

At the start of the second half, North Carolina and Virginia Tech took shots at each other, but both team's defenses were able to hold off the efforts. In the first, eleven minutes of the half, the Tar Heels had one shot while Virginia Tech had two.

That style of play continued until the 64th minute when UNC's Martin Salas rocketed the ball into the back of the net to bring UNC's lead to 3-1. Despite three unanswered goals by the Tar Heels, the Hokies kept pushing and took five shots in the remainder of the game, but they were unable to score.

North Carolina was able to hold on and secure the victory, 3-1. With the win over Virginia Tech, UNC extended its winning streak to three games and notched its first conference win of the season.

Who stood out?

Of Virginia Tech's 16 shots, Smir saved six and allowed only one goal for North Carolina. The sophomore goalkeeper has started all five games for the Tar Heels this season, and he has allowed just five goals this season.

Along with Smir, both Salas and Pieters had standout performances against the Hokies. The duo scored their first goals of the season, heating up right before UNC begins the majority of its conference schedule.

When was it decided?

With the Hokies and Tar Heels tied, 1-1, Pineda's goal to give North Carolina the lead made the difference. That goal was Pineda's second of the season.

Although the Hokies outshot the Tar Heels with seven shots on goal to UNC's five, North Carolina was able to stop the Virginia Tech offense and capitalize on both ends of the field.

Why does it matter?

With an upset win over a highly ranked opponent, the UNC's record improves to 3-1-1 on the season. In the past three games, North Carolina has scored 10 goals and held its opponents to just one.

This strong run over the last three games has been a significantly improved display compared to UNC's first two games of the season in which the Tar Heels conceded three goals.

When do they play next?

North Carolina will return to Chapel Hill to face Davidson at 7 p.m. on Tuesday in the UNC Soccer & Lacrosse Stadium.


@DTHSports | sports@dailytarheel.com

UNC first-year forward Key White (13) races to beat Creighton University's sophomore midfielder Keegan Boyd (17) to gain possession during Friday night's 2-2 tie.

<![CDATA[UNC cross country team finish top-3 for men and women in Cavalier Classic]]> The North Carolina cross country team competed in the Cavalier Classic on Saturday, where the women finished second, and the men placed third in Earlysville, VA Saturday morning.

What happened?

With only two events on the schedule- the men's 8k and the women's 5k- the Tar Heels
excelled in both.

In the men's 8k, North Carolina had five runners place in the top 25 out of the 50 possible competitors. Senior Jeremy Brown led the way for the Tar Heels as his time of 24:31.5 earned a fifth-place finish. Shortly after, senior Matt Thornton placed ninth with a time of 24:40.0. The 14th spot went to redshirt junior Mitch Resor with 24:45.9. The Tar Heels also had sophomore John Tatter finish 19th and redshirt junior Alex Milligan finish 22nd to give UNC the third most spots in the top 25 behind Virginia and Duke. At the conclusion of the race North Carolina amassed 64 points, enough for a third-place finish.

With 47 total runners in the women's 5k, seven Tar Heels finished in the top 25. During this event, graduate student Morgan Ilse placed second with 17:03.3. Junior Paige Hofstad followed with 17:09.2 for third place, and senior Erin Edmundson placed eighth with 17:42.2. The Tar Heels had first-years Lizzy Harding and Alex Morris claim the 14th and 15th spot, respectively. With the strong performances from the women, North Carolina finished with 42 points and earned a second-place finish.

Who stood out?

Brown led the Tar Heels in the men's 8k with a fifth-place finish. The Tar Heels placed five of the 11 men in the top 25 with another nabbing 26th place. These five men were: Brown, Thornton, Resor, sophomore John Tatter and redshirt junior Alex Milligan.

The women's team performed strong collectively as Ilse, Hofstad and Edmundson placed within the top 10. Harding and Morris earned 14th and 15th. Junior Lindsey Lanier and Emmeline Fisher placed 18th and 24th as well.

When was it decided?

While North Carolina placed five men in the top 25 both Duke and Virginia placed 10 apiece. This put the men in third place early where they would finish out of five teams.

Similarly, the women's place was decided within the first 25 runners. North Carolina placed seven women in the top 25 but fell short to Tennessee. The Tar Heels placed a close second with 42 points. Tennessee won with 36.

Why does it matter?

Head coach Chris Miltenberg stressed staying focused all the way through and improvement in the team.

"I think that's the hardest part of our sport is everybody is tough when things are going great, and we had some people that certainly ran great today too, but also like we did a good job of when things weren't in a couple of spots of really continuing to put in great focus, great attitude and great effort all the way through," Miltenberg said.

Miltenberg also stressed improvement over end results.

"To me it was still much more about how we were going to execute than what the end results were going to be," Miltenberg said. "I wanted to see could we get better, and I think we really took a big step forward on both sides that consistency and dependability all the way through."

Where do they play next?

The cross-country team has a near two-week gap before they travel to South Bend, Indiana to compete in the Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational Friday Oct. 4.


@DTHSports | sports@dailytarheel.com

<![CDATA[Expecting an easy win, UNC learns valuable lesson against Demon Deacons]]> WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Head coach Mack Brown alluded to it earlier in the week in his Wednesday press conference. It was a question that no one knew the answer to.

But it was a question that had an answer which would determine the outlook for the remainder of the North Carolina football team's season.

Can the Tar Heels handle success?

After North Carolina's 24-18 loss to Wake Forest on Friday night in Winston-Salem, the answer, at least for now, is no.

"We thought we had better players; we thought we were the better team coming in," redshirt sophomore linebacker Jeremiah Gemmel admitted after the game. "... We thought we were gonna have an easy one, and we didn't."

It was far from easy for UNC. Coming off of wins against South Carolina and Miami, the team was admittedly overconfident, and it showed.

The Tar Heels fell behind quickly. A fumble by sophomore running back Javonte Williams at the Tar Heels' own 20-yard line led to a Demon Deacon touchdown with a little over three minutes left in the first quarter.

Then, about two minutes later, a 41-yard bomb from Wake Forest quarterback Jamie Newman to wide receiver Sage Surratt set up another score six seconds into the second quarter. At the 12:04 mark of the second quarter, Newman connected with Surratt again, this time for 51 yards and Wake Forest's third touchdown of the night.

Headed into halftime, the Tar Heels found themselves in a 21-0 hole. They had mustered just 71 yards of total offense.

"At halftime, the guys had to make a decision," Brown said. "'Are you going to pick it up and play and come back out and give yourself a chance to win the second half like you have the other games?'"

The team responded to Brown's challenge. UNC forced Wake Forest to go three-and-out on the first drive of the second half. Two drives later, the Tar Heels pressured Newman into throwing an interception to senior safety Myles Dorn.

All of a sudden, North Carolina had new life.

"I knew that play had to be made, just to get the morale up," Dorn said. "I felt the energy switch."

Still, the offense couldn't find a rhythm. UNC didn't score until the final seconds of the third quarter, when redshirt sophomore kicker Noah Ruggles' 49-yard attempt was just long enough to put three points on the board.

At the start of the fourth quarter, first-year quarterback Sam Howell - who finished with 182 yards and two touchdowns - had only thrown for only 62 yards.

"I've just gotta play better," Howell said. "If our defense gives up (just) 24 points, we should win the game."

But Howell and his teammates said they didn't lose hope. And why would they? The team's fourth quarter magic had proven effective in its first two outings.

It looked like it would work again.

Minutes into the final quarter, Howell hit sophomore receiver Dyami Brown in stride for a 55-yard completion. Three plays later, he found junior running back Michael Carter for an 11-yard touchdown.

The Tar Heels' next drive ended in a score, too. A 17-yard slant pass from Howell to Brown, followed by a successful two-point conversion, cut the deficit to three points.

UNC's defense still hadn't allowed Wake Forest to score. That changed, though, when the Demon Deacons drilled a 32-yard field goal after milking the clock in the final minutes of the game.

Howell and the offense had the ball back, down by six points with 1:09 left. The Tar Heels had one last chance.

However, by the time UNC moved the ball close to Demon Deacon territory, there simply wasn't enough time left. Carter tried to get out of bounds on a 13-yard run - which ended up being the last play of the game - but couldn't do so before the clock hit zero.

"We've got to do better in the first three quarters," Howell said. "It shouldn't come down to the fourth quarter every time for us to pick it up on the offensive side of the ball.

"I've got to play better in the first three quarters so we're not in those situations."

With the loss came a lesson - the Tar Heels can't overlook opponents and must take the same approach week in and week out.

And if North Carolina hopes to put together its first winning season since 2016, it was a lesson that needed to be taught.

"We know how we can play ball," Gemmel said. "We've just got to come out every single day and bring that energy."


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