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The Daily Tar Heel

M. Soccer: Farfan and Martinez power UNC attack

Enzo Martinez and Michael Farfan received their first tastes of ACC play Saturday against No. 18 N.C. State.

Thanks to them, the outcome was a familiar one for the Tar Heels.

With 25 minutes remaining in the game, the freshman and highly touted transfer teamed up to score the game-winning goal.

 With it, the North Carolina men’s soccer team took its third consecutive win against the Wolfpack and continues its record of just one loss to N.C. State since 1998.

“It was the most intense game I’ve ever played,” Martinez said.

He also helped to engineer one of the most memorable goals for the conference scoring leaders.

With the score knotted at one, Martinez sent a long ball down the right sideline.

“The ball was right there,” Martinez said. “I saw Michael making a great run there, and I played him through — then I just watched magic happen.”

Farfan retained possession, beat a defender at the box and buried a strike that ricocheted off the right post and just narrowly into left side of the net.

Teammates watched in bewilderment — and so did Farfan.

“I thought it was going to come out,” he said with a laugh. “Luckily it curved in, so I was happy about it.”

The goal was Farfan’s team-leading third of the season and Martinez’ first assist of the season. The duo’s production accounts for nearly half of the team’s goals in the first four games.

“It was brilliant,” coach Elmar Bolowich said. “The recognition that the keeper was already cheating for a cross. He picked him out and slipped into the near post. You have to give him credit for that.”

The two newcomers have played an integral role since UNC entered the season with top-ranked honors and six departed seniors.

Among the departed was leading scorer Brian Shriver, who accounted for 14 of the team’s 47 goals last season.

“We lost a lot of seniors last year,” midfielder Cameron Brown said. “Michael and Enzo filled those spots. They are giving more than what could be expected of them. If they’re not on we don’t have really good games.”

Farfan earned two-time first-team All-Big West midfielder honors during his time at Cal State Fullerton. The junior transferred to North Carolina in January and trained with the team last spring.

With the arrival of fall, Farfan has quickly established himself as a pivotal cog in the Tar Heel offense.

Martinez is quickly adjusting to his starting role on a collegiate team. Teammates rave about his shot-creating abilities and energy.

“Enzo, he’s like a machine out there,” Bolowich said. “He’s moving constantly and he has an instinct of where the ball’s going to end up. That’s the striker quality he has.”

Martinez said he hopes he can fill the void left by the seniors’ departures as best as he can. With two goals and an assist in his first four games, he isn’t off to a bad start.

“It takes a lot to trust a freshman to go and play,” Martinez said. “I’m happy that somehow I can help the team. And with each individual player helping a little bit, we achieve something like this.”

Now he hopes he can make sure the team sees more of the same.

“It’s one down,” he said. “Now we focus on Duke.”

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