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The Daily Tar Heel

No. 1 Men Move on To Final 8

Survive and advance.

The Tar Heels survived a lackluster first half and scored three second-half goals to advance to the quarterfinals of the Men's College Cup with a 3-1 victory against Rhode Island on Sunday at Fetzer Field.

"They picked up on that," Bolowich said of his players' response to the note. "After last week, that's what the players were saying - survive and advance - because it was a very difficult game."

Last week, the top-ranked Tar Heels came back from a 2-0 second-half deficit to William & Mary and won in overtime to move on to the second round. Such a comeback wouldn't be necessary against the Rams.

UNC (21-2) netted two goals in the first 10:49 after halftime. Bolowich said the Tar Heel forwards were hesitant in the first half, and he instructed them to start attacking more from the flanks.

That strategy paid off when North Carolina junior Chris Carrieri scored from the right flank at 53:30 to give the Tar Heels a 1-0 lead. Carrieri's shot deflected off the shin of Rhode Island defender Neil Lewis and flew into the left side of the net.

Carrieri's goal, his 25th of the season, ended a three-game scoreless streak. Before that stretch, Carrieri's longest drought had been one game.

"I consider myself to be in a slump if I'm not scoring," Carrieri said. "That's my job. If we're winning, I'm OK. I'm doing my part, whether it's assisting or being double-teamed and somebody else is scoring goals, that's fine. I was definitely hungry to get another goal."

The Tar Heels got one 1:19 later off the foot of senior forward Caleb Norkus. But UNC's two-goal cushion didn't last long.

Less than 10 minutes after Norkus' goal, Rhode Island forward Nicholas McCreath stole the ball from Danny Jackson and outraced David Stokes to the front of the net. McCreath lobbed in a shot over the head of UNC keeper Michael Ueltschey.

"As long as it stayed 2-1, we felt confident," Rams coach Ed Bradley said. "If it was 2-1 near the end, we would have tied it up, I think."

UNC reserve forward Ryan Kneipper made sure that wasn't an option. One minute, 50 seconds after Rhode Island's goal, he scored off a pass from Sean McGinty to restore the Tar Heels' lead to two goals.

Rhode Island (17-6-1) had scored 11 seconds after Kneipper and Michael Gell entered the game for Carrieri and Norkus. Carrieri jumped off the UNC bench after the Rhode Island goal and stood by himself with his hands on his hips.

Carrieri wanted to get back in the game immediately and end the Rams' comeback hopes. Kneipper, who has scored two of his four goals in the NCAA tournament, went ahead and did it for him.

"Kneipper put the ball in and that definitely took the load off my chest," Carrieri said. "I was getting a little antsy hoping they weren't going to get the momentum."

The Tar Heels' next opponent will be Indiana (15-6), which has won the last two NCAA championships. The winner will advance to the final four in Charlotte.

UNC, which set a school record for wins in a season, will ride a 15-match winning streak into the quarterfinal matchup at Fetzer Field this weekend.

"I think when we're 40, it will be nice to look back on," UNC senior Michael Bucy said. "I think the team is focused on getting to the final four and making the most of the season.

"Keep riding the wave."

As well as surviving and advancing.

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