UNC Blanks BC to Advance to ACC Title Game
Nov. 12, 2010
Courtesy of UNC Athletics
CARY, N.C. - Enzo Martinez put away his own rebound in the 55th minute to provide the game winning goal in Carolina's (16-2-1) 1-0 win over Boston College (10-4-5) Friday night in the ACC Tournament semifinals. The win extends Carolina's unbeaten streak to an even dozen as Carolina will look for number 13 on Sunday when the Tar Heels take on No. 3 Maryland at 1 p.m. at the WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C.
The Tar Heels and Eagles battled for possession throughout the opening half as neither team was able to connect many passes in a row. Boston College a trio of shots in the opening 15 minutes as Kyle Bekker had a shot blocked and Amit Aburmad drove a pair of shots that never found the frame.
The Tar Heels had chances of their own as Alex Dixon and Martin Murphy both sent shots wide in the opening half. Elmar Bolowich brought on three new faces in the closing minutes of the first half to make an offensive push but Kirk Urso's shot at 40:37 that sailed wide was the lone shot in the final 30 minutes of the opening half.
Carolina came out of the locker room and immediately put pressure on the Eagle defense and goalkeeper Justin Luthy. Michael Farfan forced Luthy into a save in the 51st minute with a challenging shot. Less than two minutes later Enzo Martinez had an opportunity when he received a pass outside the box and fired a quick shot that rose too quickly over the crossbar.
Midfielder Kirk Urso was challenging Luthy throughout the night from distance but the breakthrough came in the 54th minute.
Urso took a shot from 40 yards out forcing Luthy to the ground to save the blast but he was unable to corral the rebound and Enzo Martinez was johnny on the spot waiting for the ball.
Martinez chipped the ball with his right foot, the ball then hit the left post and bounced right back to the sophomore midfielder. The Rock Hill, S.C., native followed with a quick shot that found the back of the net to give Carolina the one goal lead.
"As soon as I saw Kirk (Urso) wind up, I just took my chance. The keeper dropped it and luckily I was there to take a shot," Martinez said.
Josh Rice nearly made it 2-0 in the 70th minute when he was fed a perfect ball from Michael Farfan just inside the box. Rice ran onto the ball and struck a shot that Luthy was able to deflect out of play for a Tar Heel corner.
Carolina would wind down the clock the rest of the way controlling possession and making occasional runs looking to extend its lead.
"Things started to happen more in front of the ball," head coach Elmar Bolowich said. "I think that made a difference in the game because after Kirk (Urso) took that shot Enzo (Martinez) was right there to finish off the play. Our games are where you just need that one break, where you just need that one opportunistic play to finish it off and break the ice."
The shutout win was Carolina's 10th of the season and third straight shutout for a defense allowing just 0.63 goals against per game.
Carolina snapped a four-game unbeaten streak to Boston College with the win after drawing with the Eagles in Newton, Mass. earlier in the year.
The Tar Heels will make their fifth appearance in the ACC Tournament Final on Sunday when they take on Maryland and will be looking for their third ACC Tournament Title in school history. The Terrapins are riding a 12-game winning streak of their own having won every game since a 2-1 loss at the hands of the Tar Heels Sept. 24 in Chapel Hill.
"It's not only playing Maryland, but it's also playing for a championship. This is something that is big and something that you will always remember if you come out on top," Bolowich said.
The title game can be seen on Fox Sports Carolinas with a kick off scheduled for 1 p.m.