The No. 3 North Carolina men’s soccer team clinched a share of the ACC regular season title in a 4-0 drubbing of Boston College on senior night.
UNC’s five seniors, Scott Goodwin, Martin Murphy, Jordan Gafa, Cameron Brown and Daniel Tannous, were recognized in a ceremony before the game. Goodwin and Gafa started, while Murphy, Brown and Tannous came on as substitutes.
Wake Forest helped the Tar Heels with a 4-2 win against co-ACC champion Maryland.
“It was our goal to be ACC regular season champions, so it’s a reward for our hard work,” said coach Carlos Somoano. “It’s a message to our team and to our players that if we work hard and do the right things, there are rewards at the end of the rainbow.”
The Terrapins own the tiebreaker against the Tar Heels because of their 1-0 overtime win overtime win against UNC in College Park on Oct. 19.
Junior forward Andy Craven opened the game in the 20th minute when a pass from Mikey Lopez set up a curled shot from the left side of the box that sneaked in off the far post.
“I was going for that side. I don’t know about off the post – I’ll take that,” Craven said.
Craven almost doubled his tally three minutes later when he leapt to connect with a cross from Gafa, but his acrobatic shot sailed just over the bar.
Danny Garcia almost extended UNC’s lead five minutes into the second half in incredible fashion when he touched the ball forward with his chest, flicked it over his back and attempted a bicycle kick that sailed high over the Boston College goal.
But Garcia drew a foul just outside the box three minutes later and converted with a swerving left-footed free kick, giving the Tar Heels a 2-0 lead.
Boston College had its best chance of the night in the 63rd minute when a free kick by Kyle Bekker was knocked down by the wall and Nick Corliss’ rebound shot flew wide past Goodwin’s outstretched hand.
“I would much prefer them to be shooting out there than inside our 18,” Goodwin said.
The Golden Eagles’ first shot on goal did not come until the 78th minute.
UNC moved out of reach when two freshmen midfielders scored their first goals as Tar Heels.
Craven slipped a through ball to midfielder Alex Olofson, who had re-entered the game less than a minute before. Olofson slotted home with his left foot to extend the lead to 3-0.
Olofson was involved in the fourth goal as well when a Golden Eagles defender failed to clear his corner kick and Raby George fired home from close range.
Craven finished the regular season as the team’s leading scorer with six goals, while Garcia led the Tar Heels with six assists.
“We want to win the ACC Tournament — that’s our big goal,” Craven said. “After that, we’ll be looking toward (the College Cup in) Alabama. I don’t have a doubt in my mind that we can win it all again.”
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