CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - The Pitt men's soccer team kept it a one-goal game for 68 minutes with nationally-ranked No. 3 North Carolina, but two goals during a four minute span midway through the second half allowed the Tar Heels to pull away for a 3-0 victory on Friday, Sept. 12 at Fitzer Field.
Friday night's matchup was the Atlantic Coast Conference Opener for both teams. UNC (4-1-0, 1-0-0 ACC), which slid up to third in the polls this week, has won its last three games. With the loss Pitt (2-2-0, 0-1-0 ACC) is now 0-2 all-time against the Tar Heels.
Nyambi Jabang assisted on the on the first goal and added one of his own that gave UNC a 2-0 lead for his first three points as a Tar Heel. Alan Winn and defender Jonathan Campbell both scored their first collegiate goals while Colton Storm and Warren Marshall both contributed assists.
Brendan Moore, the UNC starting netminder, made two saves for his third consecutive shutout.
Myers notched the first shot of the game for either team in the sixth minute after freshman Kevin Angulo intercepted a pass at the top of the box and fed the right back. Moore made the easy stop in between the pipes.
From that point out, the Tar Heels dominated the remainder of the half as Pitt could only muster one more shot - one that went wide of the goal in the 18th minute.
In the 11th minute, UNC nearly broke open the scoring when Omar Holness' shot bounced off the post and rolled in front of the goal line until it went out of play.
Despite outshooting Pitt 8-2 in the first half, the Tar Heels would have to wait until only three minutes before intermission to end the scoreless tie.
""The game plan, which it worked to that point (when UNC scored), was to tweak our system," said head coachJoe Luxbacher. "The game plan was to hold the ball when we got it and for the most part we did that. I thought we played pretty well. Obviously they're a good team and they moved the ball well on us. But we moved the ball and had some chances."
After receiving a pass from Jabang, Winn redirected the ball around Panthers defender Stephane Pierre, spun, and settled the ball before scoring into the far upper corner. Marshall also earned an assist on the play.
"They scored right at the end of the first half which hurt. You don't want to give up a goal in the last five minutes or first five minutes of the half, that's a basic rule," said Luxbacher. "But even going into halftime a goal down I thought we were okay."
Coming out to begin the second half, Pitt dictated play for the first few minutes. Less than two minutes in Dixon's chip shot skipped of a UNC defender and went over the top of the goal. On the ensuing corner, sophomore Brandon Kolczynski's header was also blocked by the Tar Heel defense.
With the score still 1-0 in favor of UNC, Myers sent a cross into the box where there was only freshman Raj Kahlon and his defender. Kahlon got a head on the ball, but couldn't redirect his shot back into the field of play and the ball went wide right.
Sensing a Pitt comeback, the Tar Heels tallied two goals in less than four minutes to put the game out of reach midway through the second half. Jabang made it 2-0 at the 68:09 mark after back-and-forth passing with Storm led to a shot from Jabang in the box that snuck in just underneath the crossbar.
"There were some positives. For 70 minutes away from home against the number three team in the country, we were playing well and following our plan," said Luxbacher. "But the second goal broke out back and that really changed the game."
Only 3:25 later UNC padded its lead on Campbell's easy goal. Following a free kick outside of the box, freshman Kevin Angulo attempted to clear the ball, but it went right to Campbell for the easy tap, giving Lynd no chance.
For the game, North Carolina outshot Pitt 18-6 and held a 10-2 advantage in corner kicks.
"The standard we need has to be higher and it has to be consistent for 90 minutes, not flow in and out of it. We had some good stretches, then we had some bad stretches," said Luxbacher. "It's not always going to be easy, but even when you're not paying as well as you want, you can't be playing poorly. We were too up and down to compete in the second half.
After playing its last three games on the road, Pitt returns to campus for the first of three home games in row, beginning with Lafayette on Wednesday, Sept. 17 at 6 p.m.