Project 28: Men's Soccer vs. Campbell
Project 28 continues with a match between the Carolina’s fourth-ranked men’s soccer team and the Fighting Camels of Campbell University.
Home of the Tar Heels
Fetzer Field, named for former Tar Heel athletic director Bob Fetzer, is the home to the Carolina’s men’s and women’s soccer teams during the fall. The stadium resides just outside the heart of campus and located just behind Carmichael Auditorium and across from the football practice field and Teague & Carmichael dorms. Fetzer Field is an easily accessible venue, as fans can park nearly anywhere on campus and still be within walking distance, but the parking off of Stadium Drive and South Road is probably the most convenient.
Carolina’s team is coming off arguably their best season in school history, claiming the 2011 ACC regular season championship, ACC tournament championship, and the NCAA national championship. The 2012 team lost five starters from the championship team, including last year’s senior captain Kirk Urso, a four year letterman who tragically passed away in August of this year. The 2011 National Coach of the Year Carlos Somoano is in his second season at the helm of the Tar Heel soccer program, and his 2012 campaign has been equally impressive. The Tar Heels have been ranked among the nation’s top 5 teams all season, and their 12-2-1 overall record and 4-1-1 conference mark has them placed second in the conference. Last week’s battle between No. 1 Maryland and the No. 2 Tar Heels ended in a 1-0 overtime defeat, pushing the Heels definitively in second place in the conference and fourth in the nation.
Senior goalkeeper and Captain Scott Goodwin has continued his dominant collegiate career, setting the school record for career shutouts (35), and his 11 shutouts in 15 contests this season lead the conference. The offensive fire power of Carolina has been led by senior Martin Murphy and junior Andy Craven who lead the team with 5 goals each on the season, but junior Rob Lovejoy has also helped add a spark to the Tar Heel attack. Lovejoy, who scored 7 goals in 2011, has been sidelined since the summer up through mid-October due to an offseason surgery, but he made the most of his 2012 debut against College of Charleston, recording a hat trick that got him named College Soccer News National Player of the Week. Sophomore Mikey Lopez, the 2011 ACC Freshman of the Year, has been a solid midfield player for the Carolina midfield lineup and has helped the Tar Heels to their impressive start.
Tuesday’s contest marked the final non-conference regular season match for the Tar Heels, and they took full advantage of it. Campbell’s team entered with a 10-4-1 record, but the Camels were unable to compete with feisty offense of the Tar Heels. Dominating possession and controlling the ball on the Campbell side of the field, Carolina outshot the Camels 22 to 3 in an almost completely one-sided matchup. Junior Andy Craven showed why he is tied for the most goals on the team as he stole the ball from a defender and slotted it past Campbell’s goalkeeper just 18 minutes into the first half to give Carolina all they needed in the match. “We came out with a lot more defensive intensity all across the field, with the forwards and midfielders especially,” said Craven, “That was able to create a lot of chances on its own and put the other team under a lot of pressure, and they coughed up the ball a number of times.” Senior Martin Murphy wouldn’t allow Craven to take the team goal-scoring lead alone however, as he went airborne over a Campbell defender 20 minutes later and headed a shot into the goal to blow the game wide open. “Getting the 2 goals in the first half really opened things up and gave us a lot more chances to score,” said Coach Carlos Somoano, “We did a better job of pressing on the front six and closing down a little harder, which makes the offense more effective.” The Tar Heels controlled the ball the majority of the second half, and senior goalkeeper Scott Goodwin held his 11th clean sheet of the year and was only forced to make one save in the game. Senior midfielder Cameron Brown converted a penalty in the 75th minute, after a teammate was fouled in the box, to round out the final goal for Carolina as they held on to win 3-0. Campbell, though a smaller in-state opponent, has beaten two ACC opponents this year, including a 2-0 win over Carolina’s next opponent NC State.
The listed attendance for Carolina’s match against Campbell was much lower than usual, with only 418 fans showing up, including a fairly substantial Campbell support group. Generally the men’s soccer games have several thousand fans packed into the stadium with families, students and fans spread across the stands. Tuesday’s game was a more laid back environment, with a week night game against a non-conference opponent that was not sponsored by the Carolina Fever student section. However, the atmosphere of the game was anything but dull. The clear skies and temperature in the mid-60s made for ideal conditions, and the noise level as Carolina approached the opposing goal rose as if several thousand fans were in attendance. “The atmosphere is always great here at UNC,” said forward Andy Craven, “If its 100 people or 1000 people... and you we love to have a lot of people, it’s always fun to play, and whenever our fans are here they are awesome.” Pink pom-poms rained up and down across the stadium for each one of the three Tar Heel scores, and the combination of the beautiful fall leaves changing around the stadium and the weather created a fun environment. Throughout the first half, the Carolina marching band could be seen playing across the field on the football practice fields, and the presence of ESPN3 media cameras and announcers around the stadium created a distinct college athletic buzz. Following the final countdown by the dynamic Tar Heel announcer, the fans and team continued the alma mater singing tradition, and the glowing “3” painted on the field in memory of the late captain Kirk Urso created a feeling of contentment beyond the bounds of a single game victory.
Bet You Didn’t Know
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness, the team warmed up in hot pink shirts centered with a Carolina blue UNC logo. Although the team didn’t wear pink outfits in the game, the team sure enjoyed themselves in the pregame. When asked about wearing the pink warm-ups, junior Andy Craven and seniors Martin Murphy and Cameron Brown all got in a good laugh. “I didn’t really know we’d be wearing pink warm-ups, but we did it for breast cancer awareness,” added Craven.
Carolina will travel to Raleigh on Friday where they will face the conference’s second to last ranked team, NC State. “We’re going down the stretch here with two games left in the regular season and we’re trying to iron out all the little details,” said Coach Somoano, “We are really trying to squeeze ourselves to see if we can hit this last stretch playing our best.” The Tar Heels will return back home November 1st to face the Boston College Eagles before they look to defend their 2011 ACC Tournament championship beginning November 5-11.