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Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
By Delaney Rauscher Adams, Staff Columnist • July 12, 2024
Opinion | Women pop stars and the pressure to evolve
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • July 10, 2024

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Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
By Delaney Rauscher Adams, Staff Columnist • July 12, 2024
Opinion | Women pop stars and the pressure to evolve
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • July 10, 2024

Pitt men’s soccer draws No. 18 UNC 0-0 despite second-half push

Sophomore+Forward+Eben+McIntyre+%2825%29+plays+defence+during+Friday+nights+match+against+UNC+at+the+Petersen+Sports+Complex.+
Pamela Smith | Contributing Editor
Sophomore Forward Eben McIntyre (25) plays defence during Friday night’s match against UNC at the Petersen Sports Complex.

Pitt men’s soccer — who defeated No. 19 Denver on Monday — sought back-to-back ranked wins against No. 18 North Carolina Friday night at Ambrose Urbanic Field. Despite an electrifying second-half attack from the Panthers, the game ended in a 0-0 draw.

Sophomore goalkeeper Cabral Carter had a stellar performance, building upon his recent success after a rough start to the season. 

In his first four starts as a Panther, Carter allowed eight goals while making seven saves. Carter recently flipped the switch, allowing just five goals while making 18 saves during the last six games. Carter made five of these saves tonight, saving the game for Pitt multiple times.

“It’s just about getting into more games, more actions that I’m seeing while I’m growing into it,” Carter said about his improvements on the season. “And you know, I have fantastic goalkeeper coaches that help me look at video and the work we’re doing during the training week has been amazingly beneficial.”

Pitt Head coach Jay Vidovich was impressed by Carter’s performance.

“I mean, the thing for keepers is to not be involved in the game, and then have to come up really big. You know, a few saves he had back there were truly fantastic, “ Jay Vidovich said.  “His play is always crucial and his distribution and calmness back there just allow us to stay in the game and keep growing.”

North Carolina sophomore goalkeeper Andrew Cordes played equally as impressive with a four-save shutout. On the season, Codes’ opponents have yet to score more than one goal.

On the flip side, the game became a story of missed opportunities for the Panthers. They recorded 11 shots and four shots on goal. Despite the Panther’s best efforts, no matter who took the shot, they failed to solve the Tar Heels’ defense. 

For the first few minutes, the two sides juggled possession, as neither team gained much momentum. The Panthers’ defense stood strong, fortifying their net after a series of sloppy turnovers. 

The Tar Heels recorded the first shot of the game in the fourth minute, which the Pitt defense forced wide of the net. 

The back-and-forth play continued until North Carolina graduate student forward David Bercedo missed a shot wide right, only a few feet away from Carter.

As the half went on, the defensive battle intensified. Both sides played very conservatively, unable to create many opportunities, as defense dominated the game. In the 19th minute, Pitt junior defenseman Mateo Mailefaud shot the ball high of the crossbar and North Carolina’s Cordes.

The Panthers had their best chance of the game in the 24th minute. Pitt graduate student midfielder Joao Souza made a beautiful cross that almost reached sophomore forward Eben McIntyre. To the dismay of the home crowd, the Tar Heels made an even better interception, again thwarting the Panther’s attack.

In the 28th minute, Vidovich made a series of substitutions in hopes of providing an offensive spark. Junior midfielder Luka Kozomara replaced Souza and junior forward Abdoulaye Toure entered the game for McIntyre.

The Tar Heels then slipped through Pitt’s defense to earn the first shot on goal of the game in the 30th minute. But Carter made a routine stop for his first save of the night, keeping the score level at zero.

Despite the level score, senior midfielder Filip Mirkovic had an undeniable impact on the half. Between a series of well-placed crosses and the Panther’s first shot on goal in the 40th minute, the Pitt star looked determined to ignite the Panther’s attack.

As the half came to a close, North Carolina’s junior forward Daniel Kutsch gained speed up the right wing and rocketed a shot at the Pitt net. Carter continued the defensive showdown with a highlight reel save that resulted in a Tar Heels corner. Carter once again kept North Carolina off the scoresheet, snagging the corner before any Tar Heels could connect.

The Tar Heels simply outplayed the Panthers in the first half. They outshot the Panthers six to three and recorded one less foul. But the game still remained well in the balance, as any given shot may determine the outcome. 

The Panthers started the half strong with an elite opportunity. Pitt snuck the ball through for sophomore defender Noah Hall, who made a perfect cross to nearby junior midfielder Guilherme Feitosa. Feitosa connected on a header that rang off the right post.

After the opportunity, Pitt’s offense came alive, controlling possession for the next eight minutes. The Panthers’ reinvigorated attack produced a quick succession of opportunities, as the home crowd ramped up their support. 

The Tar Heels answered in the 57th minute with a high-danger cross of their own. Pitt’s gutsy defensive performance continued, as they used some physicality to box out the Tar Heels.

Vidovich made another substitution as junior midfielder Michael Sullivan entered the match for Toure in the 61st minute.

As the match continued, the Panther’s frustration seemed to grow, committing three fouls in a 12-minute span.

Both sides played suffocating defense. Each time an attack started to develop, the other team quickly snuffed it out. Both sides failed to capitalize on their opponent’s mistakes, as counterattacks rarely developed.

In the 69th minute, the Panthers made another offensive surge. First-year forward Albert Thorsen shot a missile over the crossbar with only the keeper to beat. A minute later, Thorsen gave a fantastic ball to Sullivan, who shot the ball directly at North Carolina’s Cordes.

The match continued to intensify as Carter made another incredible save after Tar Heels’ Martin fired one from inches away.

A foul by sophomore defenseman Jackson Gilman led to another opportunity for the Tar Heels, as the referee awarded Gilman a yellow card and North Carolina a freekick. Pitt’s defense refused to break, blocking the free kick and two Tar Heels shots.

Vidovich made one last substitution, putting in leading scorer junior forward Luis Sahmkow for first-year midfielder Santiago Ferreira in the 80th minute.

In the 84th minute, North Carolina sophomore defenseman Charlie Harper received a yellow card right outside the box. Feitosa’s freekick ricocheted off the top of the crossbar, as the Panthers yet again squandered another opportunity.

Pitt kept up the pressure as in the 86th minute, but the Tar Heels fended off a shot from Mirkovic.

Quickly after, the Tar Heels stopped Sahmkow in close. Chaos ensued in front of the net but the Tar Heels eventually regained possession.

The Panthers showed no quit, producing another set of quality chances that ended after a Sahmkow foul.

After the game, tempers flared, as the sides met at midfield after a hard-fought 0-0 draw.

“Our goal is to win the ACC,” Carter said. “You know what we were hoping for three points tonight and hoping for three points on Friday against Virginia Tech, but it’s just one game at a time”.Pitt will retake the field on Oct. 6 at Ambrose Urbanic Field, as the Panthers continue conference play against Virginia Tech. Coverage will air at 7 p.m. on ACCNX.

About the Contributor
Alex Porter, Staff Writer