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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC shuts out NCSU in Raleigh

Men’s soccer begins ACC play with 1-0 win

Eddie Ababio adjusted to his new position in the Tar Heels’ attack in place of injured forward Billy Schuler and scored the game’s only goal.
Eddie Ababio adjusted to his new position in the Tar Heels’ attack in place of injured forward Billy Schuler and scored the game’s only goal.

RALEIGH — Senior Eddie Ababio entered the men’s soccer team’s matchup against N.C. State on Friday with big shoes to fill.

As No. 4 North Carolina opened conference play, the defender-turned-forward joined the attacking third when All-American Billy Schuler left a major gap in UNC’s offense after he was sidelined with a shoulder injury.

But Ababio was just what North Carolina needed to secure a 1-0 shutout win for the Tar Heels (2-1, 1-0 ACC).

“You take a left tackle and make him a forward again in Eddie Ababio, and it happens within three days and Eddie scores the winning goal,” coach Elmar Bolowich said.

After more than 30 minutes of scoreless play, junior Alex Dixon streaked down the left side of the field and fired a shot toward the right side of goal.

Although N.C. State’s keeper Will Mackvick was in position for the deflection, senior midfielder Michael Farfan was lined up in just the right spot as well.

Farfan’s quick footwork rebounded the ball right to Ababio, who volleyed it past Mackvick and into the goal for the only score of the night.

“Michael’s got great vision and found me and just passed it in. It was a great goal,” Ababio said.

“Nobody can replace Schuler, he’s a very talented player. I just wanted to come out here and help out my team.”

The shutout will prove key for North Carolina’s momentum as the team heads into its tough ACC schedule.

With No. 8 Duke just a week away, the Tar Heels knew that not allowing a goal was exactly what they needed against the Wolfpack.

“We gave up goals in our tournament, we gave up goals against Seton Hall when we were 3-0 up, we gave up three goals against Akron,” Bolowich said.

“We desperately wanted a shutout. It’s good for our confidence on the defensive end, and it’s good against an ACC opponent.”

It also was a marked accomplishment for UNC’s sophomore goalie Scott Goodwin, who earned his first clean slate of the season.

Goodwin tallied two saves in Friday’s effort, both of which occurred in the second half as the Wolfpack desperately searched for a draw.

Although North Carolina dominated possession in the first half with plenty of help from the control of midfielder Stephen McCarthy, N.C. State tested North Carolina’s defense late in the second half with four corner kicks and seven shots.

“(The second half) was definitely a change of pace, but you kind of have to just stay in tune, stay ready for that the entire game,” Goodwin said.

“They could have easily tried to pick one off in the first half out of nowhere.”

As for Schuler, his time may be up as the leader of the Tar Heels’ attack this season.

The forward is currently weighing the options of a six-month recovery time for the surgery required to repair his partially torn ligament or taking his chances and continuing to play.

“We’ll give Billy some time to think about it,” Bolowich said. “It looks to me right now that he’s going to apply for a medical hardship to return next year.”

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