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The Daily Tar Heel

Tigers Claw Past UNC in Tourney

Stokes got his head on the ball, but it went six feet over the goal, capping a second half filled with frustration as the third-seed North Carolina men's soccer team fell to sixth-seeded Clemson 3-2.

Although the scoring was confined to the first half, UNC's inability to finish in the second half was the demonstrative factor in its demise.

"That was identical to the game we had at Clemson," said UNC coach Elmar Bolowich, though the Tar Heels won that contest 3-1. "The difference was that the shots did not fall in our favor this time."

But they did for Clemson (12-3-3), which scored on its first three tries of the game.

Two minutes and 17 seconds into the game, Clemson forward Dimelon Westfield headed the ball into the open net, as UNC goalkeeper Jay Batt watched helplessly after getting beat on the restart that allowed Westfield to score.

Not to be denied, the Tar Heels (13-6-1) tied the game five minutes later, when forward David Testo intercepted a failed clear by the Clemson defense and went in one-on-one against keeper Doug Warren.

"The whole focus of our game is to pressure the defense," Testo said. "I saw the opportunity to get a touch on the ball, I did. The one-on-one with Doug, it's kind of intimidating, but the ball happened to pop out for me, and I put it back in."

Testo and Westfield each scored another goal to push the score to 2-2.

Just as both teams were settling in to let the half wear out, Tiger forward Steven Rhyne netted the game winner with just more than four minutes to go.

Rhyne ran onto a loose ball bouncing around the edge of the UNC penalty area and blasted a shot by Batt, who never had a chance to make a move on the ball.

"What the hell's going on out there?" said Bolowich of Rhyne's goal. "We had the momentum then, a little bit. They had a loose ball, and a guy took the opportunity. It was beautiful shot."

UNC peppered Warren with 13 shots in the second half, 22 on the night, but he didn't allow the equalizer.

"Clearly, the opportunities were there, we were just not fortunate to stick the ball in the net," Bolowich said.

Clemson coach Trevor Adair denied his team was lucky to leave with a victory.

"We came here with a plan. ... I don't care if they had 100 shots. We had three (goals), they had two. And that's what counts."

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

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