Heels Prevail 1-0 Over No. 1 Indiana
FORT WAYNE, Ind. - It may have only been an exhibition, but it didn't feel like it when No. 4 North Carolina and No. 1 Indiana, winners of the last two NCAA Men's Soccer National Championship titles, faced off Saturday night in the final game of the ShinDigz National Soccer Festival on the campus of IUPUI-Fort Wayne.
An early second-half goal was the difference in a 1-0 Tar Heel victory over the Hoosiers, the same club that knocked UNC out of the quarterfinal round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
After a scoreless opening 45 minutes, Carolina took control of the match in the opening minutes out of halftime and broke through with a goal from Cooper Vandermaas-Peeler to give North Carolina a 1-0 advantage at the 46:27 mark. Josh Rice picked up an assist on the goal.
UNC did an outstanding job of offensive opportunities for the Hoosiers in the second half. In fact, IU only had two shots over the final 45 minutes after coming up with eight in the opening half.
Tar Heel midfielder Glen Long nearly made it 2-0 when he sent a chip towards the goal that forced keeper Michael Soderlund to make a good save with 11 minutes left in regulation.
IU re-inserted its top offensive weapons back into the match in the final minutes, but the UNC back line held strong to preserve the victory. A final Hoosier shot at the buzzer was saved by the Heels.
@UNCmenssoccer great win guys...especially in Indiana...big CONFIDENCE builder.— Stuart Jones (@stujones23) August 25, 2013
Indiana had the first good scoring chance of the match in the 14th minute off a corner kick, but Tar Heel keeper Brendan Moore (five saves) was up to the task to keep the game scoreless.
The Hoosiers actually hit the post late in the first half when Tommy Thompson rang his shot off the iron and the rebounded shot by Nikita Kotlov was hauled in by Moore.
Jonathan Campbell's header off a corner kick was cleared off the goal line by the Hoosiers' Kotlov in the 37th minute to keep the game 0-0 going into intermission.
Both clubs had 10 shots for the match, while Indiana held a 5-2 corner-kick advantage.
In three exhibition victories, Carolina's defense allowed only one goal, a late marker by Michigan State on Thursday after the Heels had taken a 2-0 lead over the Spartans.
The crowd for the match was estimated at around 5,000.
UNC opens the regular season with the Carolina Nike Classic next weekend at Fetzer Field. The Tar Heels will host Monmouth on Friday at 7:30 p.m., and Coastal Carolina on Sunday at 7 p.m.