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MSOC: Tar Heels punch ticket to ACC final

Posted November 9, 2012

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— No. 3 North Carolina advanced to its third straight ACC Final with a 4-3 penalty shootout win over Virginia Friday night in Germantown, Md.

The Tar Heels and Cavaliers battled to a scoreless draw after 110 minutes before heading to the penalty shootout for the right to advance to Sunday's final.

Virginia's captain Will Bates took the first penalty and put the Cavaliers up 1-0. Junior Rob Lovejoy was the first Tar Heel shooter and sent his effort just off the left post to give the Wahoos an advantage after the opening round.

Grant Silvester pushed the advantage back to even when he missed his shot off of the right post prior toMartin Murphy converting and making the score 1-1 after two rounds.

Todd Wharton and Raby George traded makes to make the score 2-2 before Zach Carroll and Alex Walterspushed the score to 3-3 after four rounds.

In his fifth career shootout, goalkeeper Scott Goodwin made another penalty save to give Carolina a chance to advance to the ACC Final.

Fellow captain Jordan Gafa strolled to the spot looking to give UNC a shootout win. Gafa calmly placed the penalty into the back of the net and the celebration ensued for the Tar Heels.

The penalty shootout win was the fifth straight for the Tar Heels who won three straight in the 2010 NCAA Tournament and in the NCAA Semfinal a year ago.

Carolina and Virginia went back and forth throughout the contest as neither team was able to gather much momentum.

Goodwin opened the night with the first save in the 13th minute when Darius Madison backed his way into the box before receiving a pass eight yards out. Madison turned and fired into Goodwin's chest.

The best chance of the first half for the Tar Heels came in the 40th minute when Rob Lovejoy sent in a searching cross from the right wing. Andy Craven ran onto the ball and hit a right-footed shot just wide of the net.

Virginia nearly found the winner in the 74th minute when the Cavaliers mounted a counter attack on the Tar Heels. Senior Will Bates raced down the right side and unleashed a shot just inside the 18-yard box that was wide left of the target.

Carolina earned a pair of late corner kicks in regulation but were unable to break through as the match went into extra time.

The Tar Heels had a pair of opportunities in the second overtime period when Andy Craven earned a free kick in the 104th minute of action. Verneri Valimaa took the free kick for the Tar Heels but sent the effort over the crossbar.

Raby George had a later header attempt but it was all the Tar Heels could muster before the match headed to the decisive penalty shootout.

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