CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — The No. 16-ranked Fighting Irish continued its tough road stretch on Friday evening at No. 11 UNC. After playing No. 4 Indiana to a 1-1 final in Bloomington on Tuesday, the Irish were unable to pull out a result against the Tar Heels, falling by a final of 2-0.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Tar Heels controlled play in the opening 45 minutes of play and built a 1-0 lead at the half. The UNC goal came in the 14th minute. The Tar Heels had a shot saved from Notre Dame goalkeeper Duncan Turnbull but the rebound led to a scramble and Jelani Pieters pounced on the loose ball and scored the opening goal.
The Irish regrouped during the intermission and came out focused in the second half, creating a number of chances as they tried to level the score. Aiden McFadden nearly leveled the match in the 56th minute, as his volley from outside the box dipped and rattled the crossbar.
However, North Carolina managed to double its lead off a corner in the 68th minute, as Blake Malone scored on a header.
Notre Dame pushed to get back in the match late but was unable to find the back of the net, resulting in a 2-0 defeat on the road.
HEAD COACH CHAD RILEY’S TAKE
On the team’s performance…
“We are obviously disappointed with the result. North Carolina had a good first half and we didn’t have a great first half and I take responsibility for that. I think our plan going into the game wasn’t correct. At halftime we made some changes to our plan and the team responded very well.
“I think we were the better team in the second half. North Carolina is always going to be dangerous, as they have quality players, but I think for the most part we carried the second half. We created a couple of good looks at goal, with one hitting the crossbar, but unfortunately that did not level the game. Then they got their second goal off a corner kick which made it more difficult for us.
“I was really proud that the group continued to push and we were able to get some good service into the box. I really think the second half was our best 45 minutes of soccer on the year, so that is a really big positive for me.
“I am really proud of the way the group responded and competed in the second half. This gives us a lot of positives going forward. Now we have to take all of the things we learned about ourselves tonight and put them into the Michigan State game.”
The Irish wrap up their three-match road swing with a trip to East Lansing, Michigan, to take on the Spartans at 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Sept. 24. The match will be broadcast on FS1.
FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA