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UNC goalkeeper Scott Goodwin continues to save ACC games, makes the difference during conference

UNC goalkeeper Scott Goodwin nails a goal kick to put the ball back in play. The sophomore has allowed just nine goals this year.
UNC goalkeeper Scott Goodwin nails a goal kick to put the ball back in play. The sophomore has allowed just nine goals this year.

North Carolina goalkeeper Scott Goodwin had three of his four saves in the second half of the men’s soccer team’s 1-0 win against Wake Forest on Friday, but the sophomore saved his best for last.

With 18 seconds separating No. 4 UNC from handing the Demon Deacons their first ACC loss of the season, WFU’s Luca Gimenez earned a free kick after being tripped by Stephen McCarthy about 25 yards from goal.

Anthony Arena unleashed a missile aimed at the upper left-hand corner of the UNC goal on the ensuing free kick, one that would have sent the game into overtime were it not for Goodwin.

The goalie flung himself through the air at the last moment and slapped the ball out of bounds with his left hand to preserve yet another Tar Heel victory.

“That was a hammer of a shot and he pulled it out of the upper 90 by pure will, I want to say,” UNC coach Elmar Bolowich said. “That’s outstanding.”

As impressive as the stop was, it wasn’t altogether surprising. It seems that each of the Tar Heels’ league-leading four ACC shutouts has had its own signature Goodwin moment.

At N.C. State, it was his parry of a last-minute shot off the head of Sonny Mukungu; at Duke, the way he effortlessly snuffed out a dangerous-looking Blue Devil counter-attack; at Virginia, his organization of a back line that stood firm in the face of a series of Cavalier corner kicks.

“He’s amazing,” midfielder Michael Farfan said. “He shows every day in practice what he can do, so we’re not surprised when he comes out and does these things on the field.”

Though he has performed extremely well in ACC games, Goodwin has had trouble in non-conference play. He is still yet to post a shutout in five such games.

But three days after a communication error cost UNC its clean sheet in a 5-1 win against Radford, the Raleigh native stepped up his game under the glare of the Friday night lights.

“I think today he was a lot sharper in that regard,” Bolowich said. “He was a little bit more alert, his positioning was a little bit better… so all and all he had a fantastic game.”

Goodwin’s play has been especially important to the Tar Heels given the competitive nature of their ACC slate. Though UNC remains perfect through five conference games, it has yet to win an ACC game by more than one goal.

If the Tar Heels are to continue their historic success in the ACC, they’re going to need their goalie to make the difference as he did on Friday.

“Every game, he has a fantastic save that changes the game, and tonight he did it again,” teammate and roommate Enzo Martinez said.

“Those two seconds won us the game right there.”

Contact the Sports Editor at sports@unc.edu.

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