Tarheels clinch top two spot in ACC Tournament with 2-0 win over NC State
Carolina Athletics Press Release
RALEIGH, N.C. — No. 4 North Carolina used goals from Rob Lovejoy and Danny Garcia to improve to 13-2-1 on the year and 5-1-1 in the ACC with a 2-0 win at NC State (9-8, 1-6 ACC) Friday night.
Carolina played its game in the first half by controlling possession and making timely runs at the Wolfpack defense.
Andy Craven nearly broke through for the Tar Heels in the 12th minute when he settled a pass just inside the 18-yard box and fired a shot into the goalkeeper’s chest.
The ball was deflected out for one of Carolina’s six corner kicks in the first half.
Craven nearly struck again in the 31st minute thanks to some stellar defense from Mikey Lopez. The sophomore midfielder dispossessed the NC State right outside back and chipped a ball forward to a cutting Craven who attempted to slide the ball past the goalkeeper. An NC State defender was able to track back and clear the slow-rolling ball off the line to preserve a scoreless tie.
Rob Lovejoy came out of the locker room firing on all cylinders in the second half and forced Fabian Otte into a pair of key saves to open the half.
Lovejoy would eventually put the Tar Heels in front in the 63rd minute with his fourth goal of the year.
Andy Craven earned a free kick for Carolina a few paces left of the 18-yard box as he was taken down on a dangerous challenge by NC State’s Matt Ingram.
Craven was replaced in the game by Martin Murphy due to injury and the senior forward would come to take the free kick for the Tar Heels.
Murphy sent the free kick into the middle of the box where three Tar Heels were waiting to get a flick on the ball. Lovejoy was the man who would connect with the free kick and flicked the ball far post with his head. The header would sail past the NC State goalkeeper and put the Tar Heels up, 1-0.
The Tar Heels would face several challenges over the next 20 minutes of action as the Wolfpack was forced to push forward looking to equalize.
The Carolina defense would step up to the challenge and keep the Wolfpack offense at bay thanks again to the defense of Lopez.
The Wolfpack struck a corner kick in the 72nd minute that bounced around in the box before Sunny Mukungu connected on a header directed toward the goal. Lopez was stationed on the backline and headed the ball clear of danger to keep the Tar Heels in front.
Lovejoy would help provide some breathing room for the Tar Heels in the dying minutes when he raced down the left side and after a give and go dropped a perfect backheel pass to a cutting Danny Garcia in the box.
Garcia collected the pass and was one-on-one against the NC State goalkeeper and slotted a low driving ball past Fabian Otte to secure the Carolina victory.
Senior goalkeeper Scott Goodwin tied another school record on Friday as he recorded his 12th shutout of the year, surpassing his previous best of 11 set in 2010 and 2011. Goodwin equaled Michael Ueltschey’s mark of 13 set in 2001.
With the win the Tar Heels secure a top two finish in the league for the fifth consecutive year and run their unbeaten streak to nine straight against the Wolfpack.
Up next for the Tar Heels is a visit from Boston College on Thursday, Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. for Senior Night.