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The Daily Tar Heel

Tigers Can't Stave Off Kneipper's Air Attack

Granted, UNC dominated Towson to such a degree that it probably could have won the 3-0 contest Sunday even without Kneipper scoring.

But his two goals certainly helped the Tar Heels' effort to advance in the NCAA Men's College Cup.

And he also reminded the Tigers -- and his own teammates -- that he can score on headers when goalkeepers don't even think he'll make contact with the ball.

He made sure no one forgot about his airborne presence in the 23rd minute when UNC midfielder Grant Porter centered the ball.

Towson goalie Chris Hurley was caught flat-footed on the opposite side of net, so Kneipper flicked his head and nailed the ball into the center of the goal, giving the Tar Heels their first goal and a 1-0 lead.

"I thought it would go over both my defender and his head," Hurley said. "I didn't think he'd be able to get up and get it."

This wasn't the only time Kneipper caught the Tiger defense off guard. In the 60th minute, with UNC leading by two, defender David Stokes made a run down the left sideline and cut toward the goal.

Hurley came out of the net to challenge Stokes, but Stokes tipped the ball to Kneipper on the far post. Kneipper one-touched the well-placed pass into an open net to score his second goal of the afternoon.

"He did everything he needed to do," said UNC defender Chris Leitch. "Ryan's stepped up for us all year. Opposing defenses can't just stop him ... but every time Ryan gets his chances, it seems like he's finishing them."

After struggling through a four-game scoring drought, Kneipper was glad to find the back of the net. The last time he scored was when UNC fell to Wake Forest on Oct. 27.

"I'm just glad I could contribute and help our team win this game," Kneipper said. "I just want to keep advancing toward the championship, and hopefully I can score more goals as the playoffs go on."

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