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No. 24 men’s soccer falls 2-0 to North Carolina

Virginia was shut out by the Tar Heels in its first loss of the spring season

<p>Despite the score suggesting otherwise, the Cavalier defense was relatively solid against the Tar Heels, while the offense sputtered at times.&nbsp;</p>

Despite the score suggesting otherwise, the Cavalier defense was relatively solid against the Tar Heels, while the offense sputtered at times. 

No. 24 Virginia men’s soccer dropped its first match of the spring season to North Carolina 2-0 in Chapel Hill, N.C. Saturday night. The Tar Heels (5-3-2, 2-0 ACC) scored two consecutive goals in a two-minute span in the first half to top the Cavaliers (5-5-1, 1-1 ACC) at Dorrance Field.

North Carolina kicked off the scoring with its first goal coming in the 34th minute. Virginia senior defender Irakoze Donasiyano was called for a foul in the box which resulted in a penalty kick for the Tar Heels. Senior forward Giovanni Montesdeoca stepped up to take the kick and beat redshirt freshman goalkeeper Alex Rando to give North Carolina a one-goal advantage. The penalty kick conceded by the Cavaliers was only the second given up in 11 games this season. 

The Tar Heels again found the back of the net just minutes later thanks to a header from redshirt freshman Riley Thomas. In the 36th minute, Montesdeoca served the ball across goal to Thomas, who directed the ball on goal and just past the hands of Rando. The goal was the first of Thomas’s career and extended North Carolina’s lead to 2-0.

The Virginia offense was slow to get going in the first half and was outshot 5-2 by the Tar Heels. In the second half, the Cavaliers had a few close chances but could not get anything past North Carolina junior goalkeeper Alec Smir. In the 70th minute, freshman forward Leo Afonso and junior forward Cabrel Happi Kamseu had consecutive shot attempts from the six-yard box which were stopped on the goal line by Smir and a North Carolina defender. 

The Cavaliers had four shots in the final 18 minutes of the game but were unable to capitalize on their chances. North Carolina held the advantage for shots during the game with a 9-6 edge while Virginia held the lead in corner kicks, taking eight of the 13 that occurred during the game. 

On the defensive side of the ball, Rando made a season-high five saves. The Cavalier defense conceded goals for the first time in 220 minutes of game action after posting two straight shut-outs to open the spring season. 

As the spring season continues, the Cavaliers are still trying to figure out what lineup works best for a talented squad that has looked unsure at times following the loss of graduate student goalkeeper Colin Shutler and junior midfielder Bret Halsey to the MLS. 

Virginia returns to Charlottesville to face Virginia Tech Friday. Prior to the start of the spring season, the Hokies topped the Cavaliers 1-0 in an exhibition match played Feb. 23. Kick-off for the two rivals is set for 2 p.m. at Klockner Stadium and will be broadcast on ACCNX.