CHAPEL HILL A 35th-minute penalty kick by Hailey Beam sent Charlotte into halftime knotted with host North Carolina in both teams' season opener at Fetzer Field.
The 49ers' lone first-half shot on goal was exceeded by Courtney Jones' two. Jones' third shot on goal – 3:37 into the second half – proved to be Charlotte's dagger. The 49ers never pulled even after Jones' header (assisted by Nikki Washington) before heading home after allowing four second-half goals en route to a 5-1 loss.
Charlotte coach Jon Lipsitz, however, was adamant that the match should have been closer than the score.
“If we don't give up set-piece goals, this is a battle,” he said.
The 49ers yielded three scores off corner kicks (the first, second and fourth goals of the second half) – three more than in 2007.
Beam's offering was prompted by teammate Macky Wingo being undercut in the box while breaking away from the Tar Heel defense. Beam drove the ball into the net's lower left corner as North Carolina goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris shifted right. The conversion, though, was one of just two 49ers first-half shots versus the Tar Heels.
Charlotte goalkeeper Lauren Brown corralled three first-half saves (and seven overall), including a diving stop of a one-on-one encounter with Jones in minute 17.
The 49ers did not muster a second-half shot on goal.