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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC ready for Southern Conference foe

Andy Craven knows all about the Southern Conference.

Now a forward for the No. 8 North Carolina men’s soccer team, the junior transfer spent his first two collegiate seasons with College of Charleston, where he garnered Southern Conference Freshman of the Year honors in 2010.

Tuesday night at 7 p.m., one of his former Southern Conference foes will be at Fetzer Field when Wofford (5-3) comes to Chapel Hill.

“They’re a tough team to play because I remember them being really hard working,” Craven said. “They tend to run around everywhere and try to break up as many plays as possible. It’s hard to play a team that’s very active, with a high work rate.”

Craven said that the biggest difference between the Southern Conference and the Atlantic Coast Conference is the speed of play, but that doesn’t mean that Wofford lacks the ability to control the tempo of Tuesday’s contest.

Last season, the Terriers gave the Tar Heels a tough test down in Spartanburg, S.C., before a second-half goal from Enzo Martinez pushed the Tar Heels out in front.

And earlier this season, a much-improved Wofford squad challenged then No. 19 Wake Forest before falling 1-0.

“There are no easy games, as we know,” coach Carlos Somoano said. “Wofford could come out and play as good as any team in the country on a given day. It’s really not about how a team has done before or after they play us — it’s how they show up and play.”

In order to temper the speed of the game, over-matched teams are prone to push back their line of attack and pack the defense in to keep the action in front of them.

Somoano said he didn’t know whether or not the Terriers would focus on slowing down the game, but either way, the Tar Heels (5-1-1) are ready.

“It’s something that’s possible in any given game and they may decide to do that for any number of reasons,” Somoano said. “If they do that, we’re prepared and if they don’t, we’re prepared.

“That’s what I do feel good about — we are prepared for these games right now, and our guys are emotionally and mentally growing into what this is all about this year.”

Somoano is still concerned with the overall health of his squad as many of his attacking players are dealing with injury, including Craven.

Craven has been working through a hamstring injury but expects to be ready to go for the game with Wofford.

If Wofford tries to slow down the Tar Heel attack with a specialized defensive effort, Craven wants to turn that around on them.

“I think Wofford will definitely come and try to have their line back as far as possible and not let us get in behind them,” Craven said. “Hopefully that just opens up the field.

“We have players that like to run in and do stuff in the rest of the field. I’m hoping we can get them for that.”

Contact the desk editor at sports@dailytarheel.com.

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