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The Daily Tar Heel

Defending Champs Utilize Experience

By Roland Hoffman

Staff Writer

The difference between the Indiana and North Carolina men's soccer teams was simply a matter of experience.

For the Tar Heels, the quarterfinal game marked the farthest they had advanced in the NCAA tournament since Anson Dorrance took them to the semifinals in 1987.

On the other hand, Indiana's

1-0 victory against the top-seeded Tar Heels on Saturday at Fetzer Field marked the Hoosiers' 13th straight NCAA tournament victory and their third straight on the road.

And although the Hooisers have lost six matches this season, they also happen to be the two-time defending national champions.

"We know that a lot of guys on North Carolina haven't been a part of this atmosphere, so we felt very confident coming in to our game," Indiana midfielder Justin Tauber said. "The tournament is a lot different from the regular season, and it's a lot different from the ACC tournament."

This difference became quite apparent Saturday. The Tar Heels tore through the regular season and ACC tournament with a record of 19-2, but they struggled two weeks ago against William & Mary.

Saturday's game exposed the inexperienced Tar Heels' largest weakness in the past few years: the inability to capitalize on scoring chances. UNC outshot Indiana 18-8, yet only the Hoosiers found the back of the net.

"Indiana's the type of team that's not going to get shot after shot," North Carolina junior forward Chris Carrieri said. "But they make the best of what they've got."

Jerry Yeagley will now be taking the Hoosiers to their 14th final four in his 28th season as coach. Saturday's victory can be credited to the play of sophomore midfielder Pat Noonan and junior midfielder Ryan Mack.

Noonan, who led the Hoosiers with 26 points coming into the game, added another with his game-winning assist to Mack. The goal conjured up memories of Mack's goal a year ago against UCLA that sent the Hoosiers to the championship game.

"I'm very proud of our team," Yeagley said. "I don't think anyone's given the Hoosiers much of a chance."

Although Indiana entered the game as the underdog, the Hoosiers showed the experience that has won them the last two national titles.

"They're composed. They don't panic," UNC coach Elmar Bolowich said. "On some occasions, we did panic on our shots instead of having a little bit of composure ourselves."

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