Oct. 19, 2010

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - In a match that saw nine cards issued and two players sent off the No. 4 North Carolina Tar Heels claimed a hard-fought 1-0 win over No. 18 South Carolina Tuesday night at Fetzer Field. Freshman Robbie Lovejoy tallied the lone goal in his first collegiate action with a breakaway game winner in the 78th minute. Carolina will host Virginia Tech on Friday in an ACC contest set for 7 p.m.

The 29th meeting of the North-South Derby was one of the most physical to date as 16 fouls and nine cards were issued in the slugfest.

The teams were feeling each other out in the early going as each had equal opportunities in the opening 20 minutes both teams testing the opposing keeper. Kirk Urso had the best chance for the Tar Heels early on as he attempted a shot from 30 yards out that was parried away by South Carolina's Jimmy Maurer for a corner kick in the 12th minute.

The Gamecocks' Chipper Root put Scott Goodwin to the test in the 22nd minute when he was able to fire a shot on net that Goodwin easily handled.

Goodwin was tested exactly five minutes later, this time by Mark Wiltse and was equal to the task keeping South Carolina off the scoreboard.

The teams would combine for only nine shots in the opening 45 minutes as North Carolina maintained possession but was unable to get past the Gamecock defense to threaten the goal.

Less than five minutes into the second half the Tar Heels were dealt a blow as Eddie Ababio was fouled hard on a tackle by South Carolina's Blake Brettschneider. Ababio left the contest with a leg injury, while Brettschneider was issued a red card on the play giving UNC a man advantage with 40 minutes to play.

The Tar Heels struggled to find consistent play at the back with the loss of Ababio and South Carolina tried to take advantage with several challenging runs. The UNC defense was equal to the task and began taking shape and controlling possession once again.

The 65th minute saw the fourth and fifth cards of the second half issued when South Carolina's Stephen Morrissey slid in and took Michael Farfan out of the game as well. The Tar Heel bench was issued a yellow card in the process and put the Tar Heels in a tough spot with less than a half hour remaining.

The game was pulled back to even strength in the 73rd minute when UNC's Alex Dixon was issued a yellow card for a tackle and immediately afterward was shown a red card ending his night.

Freshman Robbie Lovejoy who was seeing the first action of his career Tuesday night nearly made it 1-0 just before Dixon was sent off when he blasted a shot from 10 yards out that the Gamecocks' Jimmy Maurer stopped.

It would not be the last time Lovejoy would challenge Maurer, however, as the Greensboro, N.C., native ran down a clearance in the 78th minute. The cleared ball found the feet of a Gamecock defender but before he could move it Lovejoy deflected it high into the air.

As the ball was coming back down Lovejoy ran onto it, settled it and then was face-to-face with Maurer. The freshman snapped a shot past the diving keeper and into the left side of the goal for the game winner.

The Tar Heels would continue pushing forward in the final minutes and were able to hang on for the hard-fought 1-0 win over their neighbors to the South.

Up next for Carolina is a chance to earn at least a tie for the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season crown when they host Virginia Tech on Friday at 7 p.m. at Fetzer Field.