CARY, N.C. - Billy Schuler scored 1:55 into overtime to lift top-seeded North Carolina to a 1-0 victory over the fourth-seeded Virginia men's soccer team Friday evening in the semifinals of the ACC Championship at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. UNC (16-2-2) advances to the championship game to face either Duke or Boston College.
"All credit to North Carolina. I thought they played hard and well tonight," UVa head coach George Gelnovatch said. "Our last game against Wake (on Tuesday), it was not just the overtime, but it was an emotional game and it took a lot out of us. I felt like that showed tonight. Carolina looked very rested and fresh and rightfully so. They were the first seed and got to play a team that had to play back-to-back (NC State), and that definitely had an impact tonight."
Virginia (12-7-1) now will await its postseason fate. The NCAA tournament selection show will air at 4:30 p.m. Monday online at NCAA.com. The tournament begins Thursday with first-round matches.
UVa goalkeeper Spencer LaCivita (Fr., Raleigh, N.C.) was strong for the Cavaliers, recording six saves, including a brilliant diving stop to keep the game scoreless in the second half. UNC out-shot Virginia, 22-4, and put seven shots on goal. The Cavaliers did not record a shot on goal against UNC goalkeeper Scott Goodwin.
The Tar Heels wasted little time in overtime, winning the game on their first scoring opportunity. After a long service across the field, Rob Lovejoy made a move to get open down the right flank; he moved into the box, then made a great feed into the center of the box to Schuler, who finished from about 12 yards out.
UNC out-shot the Cavaliers 13-3 in the second half, but the Cavaliers made some great plays to keep the game scoreless. The Tar Heels' best scoring sequence came in the 53rd minute, but LaCivita came up with a great diving save of a Lovejoy rocket, then Chris Somerville (Fr., West Chester, Pa.) made a sliding block to deflect Jordan Gafa's rebound shot toward the open net.
The teams played a scoreless first half, although UNC had the best two scoring chances. In the 16th minute, after a cross into the box, Kirk Urso had a great opportunity just outside the six and touched the ball over the goal. The Tar Heels made a push again in the 31st minute. After a deflection in the box, Jordan McCrary cranked a shot high over the crossbar from about 12 yards out.
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A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
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