Sunday, Tarantini's Wolfpack did not disappoint as the two teams combined for 37 fouls and four yellow cards.
Sandwiched among the fouls and yellow cards, Ryan Kneipper and David Testo each recorded a goal and an assist as the Tar Heels (12-2 overall, 3-1 in the ACC) defeated N.C. State (3-10, 0-5)
4-0 at the Method Road Soccer Complex.
"Regardless of their record, you have to prepare and you have to prepare well," Bolowich said. "We wanted to play our own game, establish our rhythm and attack N.C. State early."
The Tar Heels immediately attacked the Wolfpack defense and nearly scored in the first 15 seconds of the match, but Kneipper's shot went wide.
North Carolina continued to press and in the 15th minute, its pressure paid off. Sophomore midfielder Logan Pause took a pass from Testo and his low, 20-yard shot beat N.C. State goalie Mitchell Watson to give the Tar Heels a 1-0 lead.
After the goal, the game's pace seemed to slow down any offensive rhythm. To give his team a boost, Bolowich used four subs in the 30th minute.
One minute later, one of those substitutes helped UNC add to its lead when junior David Gell's cross was kicked into the N.C. State goal by Wolfpack defender Chiedu Chukwumah.
Bolowich said Gell's energy greatly helped the team.
"We have a couple injuries with Grant Porter and Danny Jackson, and we had to take those players out," Bolowich said. "It was good to see that the guys we brought in were compatible there and there was no letdown."
Testo said the win, the eighth in a row for the Tar Heels, was important for the team as it enters a two-week stretch in which it plays No. 11 Clemson and
No. 12 South Carolina.
"We knew it was going to be a physical match and we needed to make sure we kept our composure," Testo said.
"To come out of here with a 4-0 win is great for our team's confidence as we start this hard stretch of games."
Tarantini said his game plan was to play rough to disrupt North Carolina's offensive flow, something he said was easier said than done.
"You have to understand, Carolina is a very good team," he said. "They have a good nucleus and a lot of experience. They're easily the best team we've faced this year."
And Tarantini said the rough play is just a part of the UNC-N.C. State rivalry.
"Carolina-N.C. State is always a special game because we practically live in the same town," he said. "Nothing is intentional, it's just a hard game."
Testo and Kneipper added their goals in the 63rd and 89th minutes, respectively, to account for the 4-0 final score.
UNC used the lead to rest its banged-up starters. Testo said the reserves stepping up Sunday was exactly what UNC needs as it enters its stretch run.
"We had a team meeting the other day about keeping our focus on the national championship," he said. "This is the time when good teams become great teams."
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