Pitt shut out by No. 2 North Carolina, 1-0


Pitt's men's soccer team fought hard but couldn't find a tying goal against No. 2 North Carolina. Meghan Sunners | Senior Staff Photographer

By Ryan Zimba | For The Pitt News

The Pitt men’s soccer team fought valiantly Friday night in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, but came up just short in a shutout loss against the No. 2 team in the nation.

The No. 2 North Carolina Tar Heels (5-1-0 overall, 2-0-0 ACC) controlled the majority of the game against the Panthers (1-4-1 overall, 0-2-0 ACC), mounting attack after attack on Pitt’s end in the 1-0 victory. The Panthers’ defense played well, but the constant barrage of crosses and shots was too much to hold off for the entirety of the match.

UNC came out ready to play in the first half, creating several opportunities within the first 10 minutes of the game. Pitt goalkeeper Mikal Outcalt made several nice saves, one of which came off a shot just inside the six yard box.

The Panthers’ main problem in the first half was committing fouls close to their own net, committing three fouls just outside their own box in the first half.

The defense successfully cleared the first two free kicks, but the Tar Heels took advantage of the third. Defender Walker Hume scored from 18 yards out on an assist from his identical twin brother, Tucker, to give UNC a 1-0 lead in the 37th minute.

UNC continued to apply pressure for the remainder of the half, but Pitt’s defense was able to keep it a one-goal game at halftime.

The second half saw a much different strategy employed by the Tar Heels. With the lead, they opted to play a much more conservative style to prevent the Panthers from counterattacking and catching them off-guard.

UNC’s offense was still able to create a few opportunities in the latter half of the game despite its conservative play. Early in the half, they crossed the ball into Pitt’s box twice, but the defense was up to the task on both occasions.

The Tar Heels’ best scoring chance in the second half came in the 58th minute, when a UNC attacker shot the ball through traffic on goal, forcing Outcalt to make the save. The ball bounced back out into the box, where the Tar Heels got the rebound and put another shot on net. Outcalt was there again, making a kick save to keep the score at 1-0.

The Panthers’ offense struggled to get opportunities for much of the game, in part because the team could not afford to get up the field due to UNC’s ability to strike at any moment.

As the game entered the later stages, the Panthers were forced to take the risk and commit more men forward in hopes of tying the game.

They almost did just that in the 72nd minute, when sophomore defender Curren Page received a long ball deep in UNC’s half of the pitch. His shot went past the goalkeeper but went just above the crossbar as the scored stayed 1-0.

North Carolina took back control from there and closed out the game, sending the Panthers back home with another loss on their resume.

Pitt’s defense was much improved today, holding the Tar Heels ––  a team that came into the contest averaging two goals and 16.4 shots per game –– to just one goal on 11 total shots. But the UNC outshot the Panthers 11-3 and Pitt finished without a single shot on goal in the shutout.

This marks the third straight loss for the Panthers, who now return home to take on Loyola at Ambrose Urbanic Field on Tuesday, Sept. 20.

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