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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC men's soccer team remains undefeated in ACC

Tar Heels now 5-0 in conference with win

UNC senior midfielder Michael Farfan sends a cross toward the net. Farfan scored the game’s lone goal.
UNC senior midfielder Michael Farfan sends a cross toward the net. Farfan scored the game’s lone goal.

The North Carolina men’s soccer team got one step closer to the regular season conference championship when it handed Wake Forest its first conference loss of the season Friday.

Senior Michael Farfan received a pass from Stephen McCarthy in the 22nd minute and used some nifty footwork in the box before netting the game’s only goal.

“I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to dribble in and try to take a shot or just get a shot off right away,” Farfan said. “But I went to one side — went to the other — I was looking for it, and thankfully I had some open space, so I hit it far post.”

The goal was his third of the season and his second game-winning goal.

One goal was all the Tar Heels needed as they dominated the midfield and controlled possession for most of the match.

North Carolina outshot the Demon Deacons 19-10. Sophomore forward Enzo Martinez took a game-high 10 shots but couldn’t beat Wake Forest goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald, who ranks second in the ACC in saves.

“The keeper did absolutely great,” Martinez said. “(He) kept them in the game the whole game. He can walk away from here with his head held high.”

Despite the great play of the goalkeeper, UNC coach Elmar Bolowich wanted to see his players capitalize on more of their goal-scoring opportunities.

“When you’re working to create so many opportunities, you want to have an easier time managing the game,” Bolowich said, “and tonight, I thought we made it hard on ourselves to manage the game.”

Bolowich praised Martinez’s play for getting good looks at the goal but also commended him for winning balls in the midfield.

“The scoring eventually will come once he settles down and cools his jets a little bit,” Bolowich said. “He’s still too nervous in front of the goal.”

Wake Forest had allowed only one goal in its three ACC games before Friday night. The Demon Deacons came into the match unranked, but Bolowich knew that Wake’s record was not indicative of its talent.

The Demon Deacons are one of the most physical teams in the ACC. They lead the conference in fouls, having committed 138 in their first 10 games. Friday night, Wake Forest earned three yellow cards.

“They came in here, and they came to play,” Martinez said. “We like teams that come to play. It was a very physical game, just like every ACC game.”

The win for the Tar Heels makes them the only remaining undefeated team in conference play and gives the team a commanding lead in the conference standings.

North Carolina has never won an ACC regular season championship outright since the conference’s inception in 1953. Last season marked the third time the team finished tied for first place.

“(The championship) is a goal for every player here because if it wasn’t a goal, then you wouldn’t be wearing this jersey,” Martinez said. “But we take it one game at a time.”

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