Tar Heels fall to Terrapins in championship game
After North Carolina’s Rob Lovejoy scored in the 86th minute to cut Maryland’s lead to one, the Tar Heels made a desperate effort to find a late equalizer in Sunday’s ACC Championship.
With just seconds remaining a ball was sent in deep to Lovejoy, but as the ball took a high bounce in front of him, a Maryland defender headed the ball out of danger, and the Terrapins rushed the field to celebrate their 2-1 men’s soccer ACC Championship game victory.
The ACC final marked the first time the Tar Heels had allowed two goals in a game since last year’s NCAA semifinal win against UCLA.
Maryland kicked off the scoring in the 11th minute when Dakota Edwards scored his first career goal off a corner by Dan Metzger to give the Terrapins a quick 1-0 lead.
Edwards’ goal was the earliest the Tar Heels have been scored on this season.
“Throughout this whole year, we haven’t been down very much in the games and that early goal hurt us,” Lovejoy said. “I take responsibility for that. That was my man, but in the second half there was a response from our team.”
The Tar Heels were able to string passes together in the second half and put two of their three second half shots on frame.
In the regular season bout between the two teams, the Tar Heels held off the Terrapins for 98 minutes until Schillo Tshuma ended the game with a golden goal in the first overtime period.
Again, Tshuma would provide the deciding goal, this time in the 62nd minute, when he received a throw-in from midfielder Mikey Ambrose, dribbled toward the goal and sent a shot that would deflect past UNC keeper Scott Goodwin for the Terps’ second goal.
Lovejoy said UNC allowed Maryland to control the game.
“We played at their pace and we’re used to dictating the flow of the game and how fast it is,” Lovejoy said. “I thought we just didn’t come up with enough loose balls to be able to dictate the pace of the game.”
Sunday’s ACC Championship win was the Terrapins’ fifth since the league began determining its champion by tournament in 1987.
“This was a fantastic atmosphere and this was one of the great moments in our soccer history because it’s the first ACC Championship we were able to win in the state of Maryland,” Maryland coach Sasho Cirovski said in a press conference after the game. “I’ll cherish this one forever.”
The Tar Heels now wait on their seeding in the NCAA tournament, which will be announced today.
UNC coach Carlos Somoano said UNC will have no problem rebounding from the loss as it looks to repeat last year’s national championship run.
“We play every game to win. Period,” Somoano said. “To say that we would have been less motivated next week had we won today or more motivated ‘cause we lost is not the way we think.”
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