UNC Soccer: Golden Goal sends Heels to NCAA quarterfinals


Tonight the Tar Heels faced Farleigh Dickinson in the third round of the NCAA Tournament. The game was a home game for the Heels due to their high seeding, and was played at Fetzer Field in front of the Tar Heel faithful and even a school band. The Tar Heels won by a score of 1:0, with Cam Brown supplying the Golden Goal in the first overtime period.

The match started out cagey, and would remain that way for much of the first half. There were a few early chances. The Knights of Farleigh Dickinson were twice able to find some luck playing square balls from the wing in the early minutes, but the Tar Heels responded with a flurry of their own attacks. In the 8th minute Danny Garcia played in Andy Craven on the wing, who squared for Mikey Lopez. Lopez’s shot was blocked, and Craven may have been better served taking a shot himself. Just a few minutes later the Tar Heels had a penalty shout, as a long ball to Craven was headed away by a man who seemed to climb atop Craven to reach it, but no call from the official. Jordan McCrary’s heel trick then allowed him to feed Craven in the box, but Craven again crossed, this time finding Rob Lovejoy to no result.

After Lovejoy’s miss the game went dormant for a while, returning to its early nervy state. Both teams got on the ball plenty, but the play was mired in the midfield as neither team seemed to want to throw the next punch and make a play into the box. Eventually the knights did take a swing, but it was a weak one. A Farleigh Dickinson move at the top of the box was smothered by the Tar Heel defense, and this attack seemed to put the fire back into the Heels, who seized the initiative.

Another flurry of Carolina jabs ensued. Verneri Valimaa nearly scored when a corner was played out to the edge of the box and he fired it to the far corner, and the Tar Heels should have gone ahead when some brilliant wing play from Rob Lovejoy allowed him to cross for Cam Brown in front of an open net. Brown headed over, missing an absolute sitter. Jordan McCrary’s shot from long range was then deflected straight to Andy Craven, putting him one on one with the keeper, but Craven’s shot was saved. The Heels still weren’t done, as McCrary made another buccaneering run inside and passed to Lovejoy atop the box, but Lovejoy fired just over.

The half ended with Farleigh Dickinson playing another square ball, which was deflected but nearly hammered in at long range in the last seconds of the half. Scott Goodwin did well to maintain the deadlock, though the Heels went in at the half surely feeling that they should have been up 2:0.

The second half started with the Knights putting a few crosses into the box to little effect. In the 53rd minute a Tar Heel cross found Rob Lovejoy in the box and he laid it on for Andy Craven, who again was foiled in a one on one situation. In the 64th minute a Tar Heel free kick was headed past the keeper but cleared off the line to keep the Tar Heels from going ahead. The 75th Lovejoy again beat the Farleigh Dickinson defense, playing in Cam Brown. Brown was one on one with the keeper, but tried to cross back for Lovejoy instead of shooting. The cross was cleared away. In the 80th Brown connected with Lovejoy on a cross. Lovejoy headed home, but the goal was called back on a debatable offside call. (Debatable is reporter speak for probably- wrong)

Regular time ended tied 0:0, but it took only seconds for the Tar Heels to win it in overtime. Rob Lovejoy once again drove down the wing, and his low cross was put home by Cam Brown, atoning for his earlier mistakes.

The Tar Heels looked impressive as ever in attack, and were never troubled at the back. Andy Craven in particular looked marvelous. He often looked cornered by the Knight defense only to slip through with eel-like dribbling runs. Jordan McCrary also looked impressive, delivering a performance of silky perfection. Rob Lovejoy was his typical world- beating self.

Having won this game, the Tar Heels will go on to play next on Friday at 6 PM at home. They will play Indiana, the surprise victors over Notre Dame. As always you can look to keepingitheel for UNC Soccer coverage.