No. 4 Tar Heels fall to No. 3 Maryland in ACC Soccer Championship
Posted November 14, 2010
Updated November 15, 2010
Cary, N.C. — A Matt Kassel penalty in the 14th minute was the lone goal Sunday as the No. 3 Maryland Terrapins claimed the 2010 ACC Soccer Championship in Cary, N.C. with a 1-0 win over No. 4 North Carolina. The Tar Heels were forced to play a man down for the final 55 minutes of the game. Carolina allowed just two shots and tallied nine of its own but were unable to find the equalizer falling for the first time in the last 13 games.
Maryland came out the aggressor in the opening minutes forcing goalkeeper Scott Goodwin into a pair of saves before the clock struck three minutes. The Terps were controlling possession in the early portion of the game as the Tar Heels were only able to tally a pair of shots in the first quarter hour of the match, both coming on counter attacks.
At the 13:45 mark of the opening half Maryland's Matt Kassel fired a shot from 26 yards out that was blocked in the box by Enzo Martinez but the ball found Martinez's hand giving the Terrapins a penalty.
Kassel went low left with his shot as Goodwin made a diving attempt to the right as the ball found the back of the net. The goal put Carolina down for the first time since Boston College went ahead in the first half Oct. 15 before the Tar Heels climbed back into the match to force a draw.
The goal lit a spark underneath the Tar Heels as they waged an offensive attack tallying five shots over the next 15 minutes.
Michael Farfan tested Maryland's Zac MacMath the most in the 32nd minute when he was fed a pass from the midfield on a counter attack. With Matt Rose running down the left flank, Farfan faked a pass to the outside and pulled it to his right foot.
Farfan bent a shot from just outside the box that was parried away by MacMath at the last second forcing a corner kick. Carolina was unable to produce anything off the corner resulting in open play.
As the ball found its way to the Maryland defensive third, Maryland's John Stertzer and Carolina's Farfan went for a ball. Stertzer found the ball first as Farfan slid in for the tackle and took Stertzer out on the play with a reckless challenge.
After the referee sorted out the tackle he issued Michael Farfan a red card putting the Tar Heels both a man and a goal down with 10 minutes to play in the opening half.
The Terrapins tested the Tar Heels after the red card with a pair of shots but the defense was equal to the task as the score remained 1-0 heading into the half.
The Tar Heels came out with much more intensity in the second half spending the majority of the 45 minutes in the Maryland end, attacking the Terp defense.
A pair of corner kicks in the first five minutes did not result in any chances for the Tar Heels but Martin Murphy had the best chance of the day in the 52nd minute.
Matt Rose crossed a ball over the Terrapin left back that Martin Murphy was able to corral. Murphy ducked inside a Maryland defender and then a diving MacMath with an open goal in sight. Murphy fired a shot toward the left side of the net but Maryland's Alex Lee was there to deflect the shot away.
Jalil Anibaba had a pair of throw-ins in the Maryland half that created two opportunities for Tar Heel goals but headers from Stephen McCarthy and Jordan Gafa were both saved by MacMath.
The Tar Heels created six shot opportunities in the second half while keeping Maryland from attempting even a single one in the second stanza despite being a man down.
Freshman Robbie Lovejoy had a pair of opportunities in the final quarter hour of the match launching one shot over the goal on a breakaway and putting another wide.
In the 76th minute, Lovejoy forced the Maryland left back into a turnover and chased down the loose ball finding room on the right flank and then charging at MacMath. Lovejoy's shot found its way past MacMath but the ball rolled across the mouth of the goal and out for a goal kick.
Carolina would mount several runs in the final minutes but were unable to find the equalizer as Maryland claimed its fourth ACC Championship in school history.
Despite the loss the Tar Heels were well represented on the All Tournament team placing five members on the 12-man squad. The five members is the most since the 2000 squad placed five on the team as well.
The Tar Heels will learn their NCAA Tournament fate on Monday at 4:30 p.m. ET as the 48-team bracket is announced on ESPNU.