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The Daily Tar Heel

North Carolina men's soccer still undefeated at home


Andy Craven returned from a one-game suspension to give UNC the first half lead on Tuesday.

The North Carolina men’s soccer team set the tone for its game against Georgia Southern in the first two minutes when goalkeeper Scott Goodwin soared over the Eagles to punch a shot out of the box.

Following Goodwin’s deflection, the Tar Heel defense prevented any further shots on goal for the remainder of the first half.

North Carolina ended the first half with a rapid succession of goals to take the 2-0 lead, which they held for the rest of the match.

In the 38th minute, Andy Craven scored the first goal of the night, his fourth of the season. Craven followed up on a shot by Nico Melo that bounced off the chest of Eagles keeper Neal Bates.

“I mean, I was like, I’ll take that,” Craven said. “The keeper kind of dropped it right to me, so I ran up and poked it in.”

Following their first goal of the night, the Tar Heels responded just two minutes later with another.

Sophomore forward Cooper Vandermaas-Peeler scored his first career goal, taking the Tar Heels to a 2-0 lead just before halftime.

Vandermaas-Peeler received a ball from Martin Murphy, dribbled around a defender and chipped the ball just over the goalie’s reach.

Although Vandermaas-Peeler was excited for his first goal, he said he values the team’s success more.

“I try and get out on the field and do what I can for the team, and today I happened to score my first goal,” he said.

The Tar Heels (8-1-1, 3-0-1) finished off the Eagles (2-8-0) after a scoreless second half that mirrored the first in terms of UNC possession.

“We stayed together,” sophomore defender Jordan McCrary said. “We always played tight and we always played strong.”

Coach Carlos Somoano said the Tar Heels could have created some more opportunities offensively if they had executed a little bit cleaner and a little bit sharper.

“We base a lot of our attack on spacing and timing and synchronized movement,” Somoano said, “and it’s pretty hard to do.

“I don’t think that we’re at the top in that regard right now, so that’s where we break down the most, but we continue to work on it.”

Many of the Tar Heels’ advances Tuesday were a result of Craven’s movement on and off the ball.

Craven was unable to play in last week’s game against Duke due to a red card in the game against Wofford a week ago.

Craven’s absence was noted against Duke, but helped him better prepare for the Georgia Southern game where he claimed the early lead for the Tar Heels.

“Obviously, I didn’t want to sit out,” Craven said.

“But if you look on the bright side of things I got to rest up.”

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