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Pitt men’s soccer overcome by No. 20 North Carolina

The 2-1 loss snapped the Panthers’ four-game unbeaten streak

Matt Hawley

The Pitt men’s soccer team hosted No. 20 North Carolina at Ambrose Urbanic Field on Friday night, and despite holding off the visitors for the majority of the first half, the team struggled offensively and ultimately suffered a 2-1 loss to its conference opponent.

North Carolina midfielder Jack Skahan netted the game’s first goal on a free kick awarded after a foul by Pitt midfielder Matt Bailey. His shot sailed past Pitt goalkeeper Arie Ammann into the upper right corner as the final seconds ticked off the clock in the first half.

”Matt Bailey did a great job, it was just a defensive mistake,” Pitt head coach Jay Vidovich said after the game. “You’re in a dangerous area on the pitch, and he wanted to win the ball and close out the half for us. And he lunged for it, and he made a mistake.”

The second Tar Heels goal came in the 72nd minute, after North Carolina midfielder Martin Salas lofted a pass into the box to North Carolina forward Santiago Herrera, who headed it in to put his team up 2-0.

Fifteen minutes later, the Panthers responded, as Pitt forward Josh Hesson put a shot on target that was deflected back into play. That allowed Pitt defender Nyk Sessock to one-time a shot that beat North Carolina goalkeeper Alec Smir. But with time winding down and North Carolina still up, the late effort proved too little too late, as Pitt would lose 2-1.

”The consistency of the performance was much higher, and I think the belief factor was much better in how they collectively played,” said Vidovich. “I think that was very good, and I think one of the lessons just comes from Carolina: A good team will punish you when given the opportunity.”

With the loss, Pitt falls to 4-4-2 on the season and 1-2-1 in conference. The Panthers also saw their four-game unbeaten streak snapped. Meanwhile, North Carolina improves to 6-2-2 overall and 3-1-0 in the ACC. The team will be in action at Ambrose Urbanic Field again on Monday, when it hosts a 2-6-1 Howard team. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET.