Hoosiers eliminate Heels in NCAA quarterfinals
Ninth-seeded North Carolina fell to No. 16 seed Indiana 1-0 in Friday night’s quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament at Fetzer Field, meaning the Tar Heels will not reach the College Cup for the first time since 2007.
UNC (16-4-3) had won 40 straight games at Fetzer Field and allowed just six goals all season.
But Indiana forward Eriq Zavaleta headed the ball at UNC goalkeeper Scott Goodwin, who just barely got a hand on it to deflect it. Zavaleta was able to retrieve the rebound quickly and score before Goodwin could reset, giving Indiana a 1-0 lead at the 59:17 mark.
Goodwin, a senior, went into the match with a 0.55 goals against average over his career, 10th-best in NCAA history. He had two saves in his final collegiate game.
“They got a cross out there from our right side,” Goodwin said. “It looked to me like (the ball) was going over (UNC defender) Jonathan Campbell and (Zavaleta), and so I kind of started coming out, thinking it was going over both of them.
“I misread it. It was a bad decision on my part. Then (Zavaleta) ended up getting to it, and so I was kind of backtracking. I got my hand on the first one, but then it was right to him.”
Before Zavaleta’s goal, Indiana (14-5-3) had not scored on the Tar Heels in 367 minutes of play that spanned four previous meetings. In fact, UNC knocked out Indiana in the quarterfinal round in two of the past three NCAA Tournaments (2009 and 2011).
UNC controlled the first half, taking four shots while Indiana was unable to record a shot.
The Tar Heels played smothering defense most of the match. Indiana took just six shots in the game and just four shots on goal, and all of the Hoosiers’ shots came during a seven-minute flurry midway through the half.
“We had one miscue,” UNC coach Carlos Somoano said. “I don’t think they even had a look at goal in the first half. But that’s what the game is about. You have your moment. To be honest, it wasn’t even that long of a spell of good play (by Indiana), but during that spell, they took advantage of it.”
The Tar Heels tried to get more aggressive offensively, attempting seven shots in the final 12 minutes to try to get the equalizer.
UNC has struggled to score all year, ranking 74th nationally in scoring offense. Even when the Tar Heels were able to get a good scoring chance, they simply were not able to capitalize.
Forward Rob Lovejoy had some of UNC’s best opportunities, attempting five of the Tar Heels’ 13 shots (and two of the three shots on goal). He missed two headers wide and one went right into the gut of Indiana goalkeeper Luis Soffner, who saved all three of UNC’s shots on goal.
“We know that hasn’t been easy for us to score goals and it caught us tonight, but it wasn’t for lack of trying,” Somoano said. “I think you saw we created some chances, but in the end, we were very good at many of the insignificant parts of the game. The significant parts of the game are who puts the ball in, and if you don’t put the ball in, making sure they don’t put a ball in.
“When we had our moments, we didn’t take advantage of them. In the end, you have to kick the ball in the goal more than the other team — or head it — and they did that.”
Indiana will face the winner of the Creighton-Connecticut game, which will be played Sunday. The College Cup begin Dec. 7 in Hoover, Ala.