MT. PLEASANT, S.C. – The College of Charleston men’s soccer team was downed by No. 2 North Carolina in front of 2,055 fans at Patriots Point on Saturday evening. The Cougars possessed well but struggled to get behind the nation’s best defense in the 3-0 result.
CofC (6-8-0) proved its ability to maintain possession but could not find space in the attacking end and saw its runs cut out. The Tar Heels are the eighth team CofC has played which was either ranked or receiving votes in the NSCAA / Continental Tire Coaches Poll.
“Their individual skill was tremendous and their teamwork and passing was tremendous,” said head coach Ralph Lundy. “They play so fast and gave us a lot of trouble. For the whole game we had pretty decent possession but not in the final third. We did create some chances which would have been interesting if we cashed in on them, but they were an excellent team.
“I think we gave a fantastic effort. But, we didn’t have enough in the final third. They defended well and were tough. Second half we came out and did well but we didn’t get the goal we needed to really fire us up. But I have no problems with our effort. They’re a very, very good team.”
CofC keeper Kees Heemskerk (Zaandam, Netherlands) made five saves for the Cougars.
Junior Rob Lovejoy picked up a hat trick as he netted all three of the Tar Heel goals in his first match of the season after undergoing surgery.
The Cougars did create chances, especially in the second half, with a couple shots eking inches wide, allowing the Tar Heels to register their 10th shutout of the season. Five of CofC’s six shots were taken in the second period.
The Cougars kept them off the board for most of the first half until UNC forced a flurry of four consecutive corner kicks late in the period. On the fourth attempt, the ball rattled around beneath a swarm of players in the box and Loveyjoy was able to stuff it into the net from the right post.
Moments later, Lovejoy brought the ball into the right side of the box on a run parallel to the goal line and fired a low shot out of the reach of Heemskerk for the 2-0 lead.
The Cougars leveled with the Tar Heels for a well-balanced second half but could not get numbers forward despite strong possession.
Lovejoy iced the game and finished off the hat trick in the 83rd minute after a bouncing ball found its way into the box and CofC misplayed it which allowed Lovejoy to sneak it into the net from six yards away.
The Cougars return to SoCon play with a road tilt at league-leading Elon on Tuesday, Oct. 16. The teams will be vying for first place and kick off at 7 p.m.