The North Carolina men’s soccer team can be confident of at least one thing entering its quarterfinal matchup with Southern Methodist University on Friday. If the game comes down to penalty kicks, recent history is on the Tar Heels’ side.
UNC has won the first two games of the NCAA Tournament at the soccer charity stripe in 5-4 fashion.
With home-field advantage and a first-round bye, No. 4 seed North Carolina first battled Georgetown to a 0-0 draw before polishing off the Hoyas. In the third round, forward Enzo Martinez scored a goal with nine seconds remaining, sending North Carolina into overtime against Michigan State. The Tar Heels prevailed once again 5-4 in penalty kicks.
At this point UNC has mastered the penalty kick art, and junior Kirk Urso says it has nothing to do with luck.
“If you hit a ball well and into the corner, it will be difficult for the goalie to get that,” Urso said. “Yeah, a goalie can guess right, but you can tell the difference between a good penalty kick and a bad penalty kick.”