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The Daily Tar Heel

Men's Soccer Falls in ACCs

The North Carolina men's soccer team swerved across that border one too many times Friday night, and it cost the squad a trip to the ACC Tournament final.

Third-seeded Clemson took advantage of two second-half breakdowns and staved off 19 UNC shots to beat the second-seeded Tar Heels 2-1 in an ACC Tournament semifinal before 2,812 at Riggs Field. Sunday, the Tigers (17-4) took the title with a 1-0 win against Virginia.

North Carolina (16-4) dominated much of the game, but the Tar Heels played into Clemson's hands when it mattered most, negating their 11-shot advantage.

"I saw a lot of spirit in the team," said UNC coach Elmar Bolowich. "In my opinion, we should have taken advantage of the clear opportunities we had in the first half."

UNC struggled early, especially in the midfield, and didn't take its first shot until the 28th minute. But the Tar Heels would eventually out shoot the Tigers

8-2 in the first half.

In the 40th minute, UNC's Noz Yamauchi blew by Oguchi Onyewu on the left sideline and cut toward the goal, firing on goalkeeper Doug Warren, who stopped the shot with his shins.

The rebound bounced out to Yamauchi, who sent a quick cross to forward Ryan Kneipper. Kneipper's header landed a yard left of the goal.

In the 45th minute, David Testo sent a through ball ahead of a streaking Logan Pause in the box. Warren rushed out to cut off Pause's angle, and Pause chipped the ball over Warren from seven yards.

But the ball grazed the top of the crossbar and fell harmlessly out of bounds, keeping the teams scoreless.

UNC would come to regret its squandered opportunities early in the second half. Clemson came out strong and capitalized when Ian Fuller snuck behind the Tar Heels' defense and beat Ueltschey in the 54th minute for a 1-0 Clemson lead.

The Tar Heels' attack became more urgent. As a result, the game got rough.

In the 53rd minute, Kneipper knocked over two Tigers in Clemson's penalty box. A scrum ensued, and Kneipper and Clemson's Paul Souders were assessed yellow cards.

A little more than a minute later, UNC found the back of the net. Kneipper chested a long ball to Matt Crawford, who left-footed a shot past Warren to tie the match.

"One thing we talked about before the game was to take shots outside the box," Crawford said. "It was a wet field, and you never knew where it was going to bounce."

But 10 minutes later, the Tar Heels made the mistake that would cost them a chance to repeat as tournament champs.

After Fabio Tambosi blocked a UNC clearing attempt, the Tar Heels' Grant Porter ran back as Ueltschey came out to retrieve the ball. Tambosi pressured Porter, who quickly kicked the ball out.

Clemson then brought in its throw-in specialist, Kevin Conaway, who fired a bullet into the box. The 6-foot-2 Onyewu sprinted in and headed the ball over Ueltschey for the game winner.

"We practice that throw-in play," Onyewu said. "Kevin has a tremendous throw-in, and I'm just trying to get underneath the ball and flick it on."

UNC had few chances during the rest of the game and was unable to shake its frustration with a physical Clemson team.

"I don't think it's going to let us down much, at all," Yamauchi said. "We're still going into the NCAAs very confident."

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