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North Carolina

Tar Heels notch national soccer honors

Posted December 24, 2011

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Junior forward Ben Speas, who scored the game-winning goal in the NCAA men’s soccer national championship game, and Carlos Somoano, who led UNC to the national title in his first year as head coach, are Soccer America’s National Player and Coach of the Year, respectively.

The awards are the first national player and coach of the year honors presented by Soccer America to the Tar Heels. Speas is the first Tar Heel men's soccer player to earn National Player of the Year honors.

Speas, a native of Stow, Ohio, finished the championship season with seven goals and 10 assists for 24 points. In addition to scoring the only goal in the national championship match against Charlotte, Speas had an assist in the semifinal win over UCLA and scored the deciding penalty kick to send the Tar Heels to the finals. He also had two goals and an assist in a 3-1 win over Boston College in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament championship game.

“I am very happy for Ben,” says Somoano. “The award is reflective of the stretch he had late in the year, especially in the NCAA Tournament and the College Cup. His ability to help us win some of the biggest games of the year was invaluable. (As a transfer from Akron) It took him a little while to settle in and get confident but then he took off. I always felt confident in him and I knew he was helping us from the beginning but didn’t have the stats for the first six or seven games. Even then I thought he was one of our best players.”

Somoano: It's been an emotional, long road Somoano: It's been an emotional, long road

Somoano led Carolina to a 21-2-3 record, ACC regular-season and Tournament titles, the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, and the national championship. UNC became just the second school (Virginia) to win the ACC regular-season and Tournament titles and the NCAA championship in the same season. The Tar Heels went 13-0-2 at home and 5-1-2 in ACC regular-season play.

Somoano became the second coach to win the title and third to win at least 20 games in his first season as head coach. He also won ACCCoach of the Year honors.

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Scoreboard
Local
Half
CHA 56
DET 45
 
Final
PHI 9
ATL 2
Final
MIN 4
BOS 4
Final
HOU 3
DET 2
Final
NYY 0
TAM 3
Final
BOS 7
TOR 9
Final
MIA 8
WAS 0
Final
NYM 4
STL 5
Final
OAK 4
ANA 1
Final
KAN 4
LOS 4
Final
CIN 0
ARI 3
Final
SEA 4
CWS 12
Final
SFG 5
CLE 2
Final
CHC 11
MIL 7
Final
CWS 2
SDP 8
Final
COL 10
TEX 4
5th
BAL 1
PIT 2
 
Half
CHA 56
DET 45
 
Half
WAS 65
PHI 42
 
Half
ORL 40
SAN 52
 
2nd
NYK 23
BRK 34
 
2nd
BOS 29
IND 18
 
1st
MIL 2
CHI 2
 
1st
OKC 4
DAL 2
 
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
SAC
1st
MIN 2
TOR 1
 
9:00pm Tonight
UTA
DEN
10:00pm Tonight
POR
LAC
10:30pm Tonight
LAL
NOP
1st
LAMON 6
LOYC 7
 
1st
BUF 1
TOR 1
 
1st
PIT 0
PHI 0
 
10:00pm Tonight
ANA
EDM
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
COL