CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Senior Cameron Brown put away a cross from five yards out a minute and a half into overtime to push No. 9-seed North Carolina (16-3-3) into the quarterfinals with a 1-0 win against Fairleigh Dickinson (11-7-6) on Sunday at Fetzer Field.
Brown redeemed himself from a pair of narrow misses earlier in the contest after the Tar Heels opened the overtime period dominating possession.
Carolina controlled the ball at midfield and senior Martin Murphy dropped a pass to junior forward Rob Lovejoy on the left flank.
Lovejoy beat the right outside back down the left sideline and worked his way into the 18-yard box near the end line. He slipped a cross into the middle of the box where a crowd of Tar Heels and Knights were waiting before Brown connected on the game winner.
The goal was Brown’s third of the year and gave Lovejoy his second assist.
Both teams battled in the midfield in the first half as neither team was able to break through the other side’s defense.
Carolina rattled off three shots late in the first half. Brown sent a header wide, Andy Craven had an effort saved and Lovejoy missed to the right of the target as the teams entered the break tied at zero.
The Tar Heels controlled possession better in the second half and Brown nearly put Carolina in front with 14 minutes remaining in the contest. He beat a pair of defenders on the right flank and was one-on-one with the goalkeeper.
Brown saw a cutting Craven near the top of the box and attempted to slide a cross that was deflected away before reaching its target.
Carolina struck for a goal in the 81st minute when a free kick bounced out to Brown, who immediately sent the ball toward the far post. Jordan Gafa connected on a header that beat the goalkeeper but the linesman’s flag was up, whistling an offsides on Carolina.
The Tar Heel defense and goalkeeper Scott Goodwin notched their nation-leading 17th shutout of the year in the win and lowered Goodwin’s goals against average to 0.26, the fourth-lowest in NCAA history.
The 1-0 overtime win extended UNC’s home unbeaten streak to 40 matches as the Tar Heels become just the second school in NCAA history to post a 40-match home unbeaten streak. Akron holds the NCAA mark with a 48-match streak.
The Tar Heels will look to extend the streak on Friday, Nov. 30 when they host No. 16-seed Indiana for a chance to go to their fifth consecutive NCAA College Cup.