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The Daily Tar Heel

Men's Soccer Dominates Towson, Advances

The Tigers wished the Tar Heels had never gained their footing.

Junior Ryan Kneipper scored two goals and added an assist as the seventh-seeded Tar Heels defeated Towson 3-0 and advanced to the round of 16 in the NCAA Men's College Cup.

The Tar Heels next face American, which upset Wake Forest 3-0.

North Carolina coach Elmar Bolowich said poor field conditions gave his fundamentally stronger team an advantage.

"In the beginning, you could see both teams were struggling a little bit with the footing," Bolowich said. "And then, obviously, the rationale is, the simpler you play, the better off you are."

UNC opened the scoring in the 23rd minute. Midfielder Grant Porter controlled a failed Towson clearance and chipped the ball back into the penalty box, where Kneipper outjumped the Towson defense and headed the ball past Tiger goalkeeper Chris Hurley into the net.

UNC continued to pressure the Tigers' goal, recording 27 shots. But Hurley, who recorded a season-high 10 saves, kept Towson within striking distance.

"He made some great saves," UNC defender Chris Leitch said. "It's a good thing we had 27 shots against him."

While UNC's offense adjusted to the playing conditions, Towson's offense, which scored four goals Friday against James Madison, never gained any rhythm.

North Carolina's defense recorded its 12th shutout of the season, a school record, and goalie Michael Ueltschey -- who made five saves -- now has 11.6 shutouts on the year, also a school record.

Towson forward Alfonso DeMares said the wet field and UNC's defense gave fits to Towson's offense.

"We're used to playing quick one-twos, and we like having a good first touch," DeMares said. "But it wasn't on. We couldn't get open for a shot."

North Carolina added to its lead in the 56th minute. Leitch and Kneipper worked a give-and-go at the top of the penalty box, with Leitch dribbling around several Towson defenders before ripping a shot past a defenseless Hurley into the upper right-hand corner of the net.

Towson coach Frank Olszewski said he felt his squad looked tired in the second half and was at a disadvantage having played JMU on Friday.

"It does play a part when you come back in less than 48 hours," Olszewski said. "I'm not going to say that was the one single factor in the game, but we were fatigued."

Kneipper and defender David Stokes teamed up to finish the scoring in the 60th minute when Stokes broke free in the penalty box and found Kneipper open in front of an empty net.

Because of Seton Hall's 1-0 defeat of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va., on Sunday, a victory against American would give North Carolina another home game and get the team one step closer to the final four in Columbus, Ohio.

But Bolowich said he doesn't think Wake Forest and Virginia's early departures necessarily help his squad.

"The other teams must be very strong," he said. "Otherwise they wouldn't have beaten them."

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