Led by senior keeper Kevin Shields, the College of Charleston men’s soccer team (3-6-3) earned a scoreless draw with the No. 3 team in the country, North Carolina Tar Heels (10-2-2) on Tuesday night at Patriots Point.
Shields and North Carolina’s James Pyle earned shutouts, although Shields’s performance was superior given the circumstances. The Tar Heels out shot the Cougars 17-8, with a staggering 13 shots in the second half of regulation. Shields recorded 10 saves, including four spectacular deflections in the final 10 minutes of regulation.
“Kevin was amazing tonight,” Charleston head coach Ralph Lundy said. “He reacted on a couple of his saves, and as a 6’4″ guy with that gigantic wingspan, that quickness was just something else. He had a great, great night. Boy he came up big and that inspired the rest of the players.”
The Cougars injury riddled roster led them to use just two reserves in the 110-minute contest, as seven players are currently sidelined with various injuries, including: Joseph Terry, Vebjorn Krovel, Adan Noel, Avery Ryan, Khalil Stewart, Kye West and Roman Brockman.
“The other fellas are coming through playing smart, sensible football in our system,” Lundy said. “We’re still fighting and we showed great effort for a great result.”
Having won just one game in their last nine games (1-5-3), this signature non-conference tie will have to propel the Cougars to a late season push to reach the CAA conference tournament. With three conference contests remaining, the Cougars are the No. 6 seed in the CAA standings. Since only the top 6 teams in the conference reach the CAA tournament, there is little margin for error down the stretch.
The Cougars head to William & Mary on Saturday, before returning to Patriots Point for matches with Northeastern (Oct. 29) and Drexel on senior day (Nov. 1).