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The Daily Tar Heel

Leitch's Defensive Help Boosts Men's Soccer

And their efforts resulted in a 1-0 victory for the No. 7 Tar Heels against No. 13 South Carolina on Friday night. It also marked UNC's 10th shutout of the season and the 26th of Ueltschey's career.

North Carolina coach Elmar Bolowich said Leitch was a big part of the team's narrow victory.

"He definitely had a great performance," Bolowich said. "I give him a lot of credit for being mentally strong."

Leitch did more than provide mental support. After David Testo put UNC

(15-3, 4-2 in the ACC) ahead 1-0 in the fourth minute, Leitch and the Tar Heels stifled the surging Gamecocks (10-4-2) throughout the contest with some heady plays.

In the 31st minute, the ball was headed into a swarm of UNC and USC players. The Gamecocks' Joey Worthen came up with it and got open for a

one-on-one strike against Ueltschey.

As the senior goalkeeper broke to his right in an attempt to move to the ball, Worthen kicked it low, left and straight into Ueltschey for the save.

On a South Carolina corner kick in the 59th minute, the Gamecocks' Ryan Daley kept the ball away from UNC and found an opening on the far left side of the goal. But when Daley made a strike, Leitch was on it, knocking it away on the goal line to keep USC scoreless.

"I read the guy, and I saw him look at the left side," Leitch said. "I was about to put my hands up, to be honest. Good thing he hit it low, and I was able to stick my leg out and kick it out."

Another Leitch save made for some controversy.

As Worthen got open just outside of the penalty box later in the match, Leitch scrambled from behind and made a slide tackle, kicking the ball away from him. Worthen fell forward but the referee did not make a call.

The referee's decision enraged South Carolina coach Mark Berson, who thought two Tar Heels fouled Worthen.

"I thought Joey was through, and two North Carolina players brought him down in the box," Berson said. "If it was one, then I'm not going to say much. But when it is two, it looked like a penalty, and that's what I was upset about."

Bolowich said: "I thought it was a fair tackle. Chris knew with his speed he could go in, and it wasn't a clumsy tackle."

While the nonconference win did nothing to help out UNC's position in next weekend's ACC Tournament, Wake Forest's loss did.

Tenth-ranked Clemson defeated

No. 6 Wake 1-0 on Saturday. With the loss, Wake fell to 3-2-1 in the conference and gave UNC the tourney's second seed.

"It doesn't matter," Leitch said of the higher seed. "Every game from now on will be tough."

The Sports Editor can be reached at sports@unc.edu.

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