Scott Goodwin has never lost a penalty shootout.
So when 110 minutes of soccer wasn’t enough for either the North Carolina men’s soccer team or Maryland-Baltimore County to net a goal in the second-round NCAA Tournament contest, the Tar Heels went into the shootout a confident group.
Goodwin set the tone immediately by saving the first shot. He went on to deny two more attempts as UNC claimed the shootout three goals to two.
“I think knowing that Scott’s behind us in goal and he’s going to get at least one or two and today even three, it makes us feel a lot more comfortable with our own PKs,” Alex Walters said after coming off the bench and netting his penalty attempt.
“If we miss he’s still got our back. We still know we have that opportunity to win the game.”
Cameron Brown was the first Tar Heel to shoot after Goodwin denied the Retrievers’ first shot. He stepped up and placed one past UMBC keeper Phil Saunders into the lower right corner.
Brown agreed that having Goodwin on the other side takes a lot of the pressure off.
“We’ve been here for all of Scott’s saves in these shootouts,” Brown said. “Typically, when you go up there you know that the other team is probably going to miss at least one — going off what Scott’s done in recent years.
“It is a huge help because it takes a lot off of you and you know that even if you miss you can still be tied because Scott will pull one out for us.”
As expected, Goodwin, who is the program’s all-time leader in shutouts, was up to the challenge.
Sunday marked the sixth time Goodwin has navigated the Tar Heels to victory in a shootout. He’s made at least one save in each one.
No matter the circumstance, Goodwin approaches each penalty the same way.
“Just like always, my biggest thing is to just take it one shot at a time,” Goodwin said. “If I get a save on one, you can’t go into the next one thinking any differently.
“Really just step up there and go at it your hardest every time. Make a decision and stick with it.”
While Goodwin’s role was never in doubt, coach Carlos Somoano was a little more creative in the selection of his kick-takers.
After Brown’s make Somoano sent Martin Murphy to the spot. Murphy beat Saunders to the keeper’s right with a chest-high blast.
Somoano then pulled two players from the bench who hadn’t played a single minute in the contest — Walters and David Walden.
With Goodwin swatting away most of UMBC’s tries, UNC didn’t need a fifth kicker.
“We practice and we see who’s good at them,” Somoano said. “But as you go week-to-week you see who’s got the hot foot.”
In the end it wasn’t a hot foot that decided the outcome but rather, a pair of hot hands.
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