Spartans knock off NCAA champion North Carolina in spring action
BROWNS SUMMIT, N.C. – Goals from sophomore Oddur Gudmundsson and junior Hakan Ilhan proved enough as UNCG's men's soccer team defeated 2011 NCAA champion North Carolina 2-1 in the ACC Hall of Champions Showcase at Bryan Park's Macpherson Stadium in front of 875 fans last weekend.
The Spartans scored first in the 18th minute as sophomore Jake Fields stripped a Tar Heel midfielder 40 yards from goal, took one touch and connected with Gudmundsson on a beautiful cross with a one-time finish.
The Tar Heels countered 15 minutes later as Rob Lovejoy took advantage of a UNCG defensive miscue and slotted home to provide a 1-1 score line that would hold up until halftime.
The Spartans would come out the aggressors in the second half, dominating possession, getting in dangerous parts of the North Carolina half and managing several goal-scoring opportunities. The hard work would pay off as junior Jonathan Leonard was dragged down in the box by a Tar Heel defender in the 66th minute. Ilhan struck the penalty kick low, hard and to Scott Goodwin's right for a 2-1 Spartan lead.
The national champions would turn up the pressure from there and had their best opportunity of the night in the 83rd minute as Mikey Lopez drove a crisp, rising 20-yard shot that junior Peyton Ford knocked over the bar to preserve the 2-1 win for UNCG.
"I am very proud of this team as they didn't back down and kept confidence after the Chapel Hill goal," UNCG coach Justin Maullin said. "North Carolina is an outstanding college soccer team, but we also expected to win here tonight. What a great night for college soccer. Many thanks to Bryan Park, Pete Polonsky and Marc Nicholls for putting on this fantastic event and we really hope we made the city of Greensboro proud of their home team tonight."
The Spartans had a 4-2 advantage in shots, the Heels led 6-3 in corner kicks and fouls were even at 11 apiece.
UNCG will host its annual five team tournament that features UNC Pembroke, Mars Hill, Barton and Methodist on Saturday, April 14.
- UNCG -