Chapel Hill, N.C.- Sophomores Billy Schuler and Alex Dixon both
scored goals during the second round of the NCAA Division I Men's
Soccer Tournament to lift the No. 4 ranked Tar Heels to a 2-0
victory over the Brown University Bears at Fetzer Field. The Bears
ended their terrific 2009 season with an 11-3-5 overall record, as
UNC improved to 14-2-3.
"It was a hard-fought battle and I am very proud of my team," said Head Coach Mike Noonan. "We wish the best of luck to North Carolina."
North Carolina played a confident and patient game of soccer and seemed to keep Brown out-of- sync during the first 45 minutes of play. The Tar Heels tallied four shots on goal as their stingy defense did not allow Brown any, as junior goalkeeper Paul Grandstrand (Orono, MN) tallied one save in the cage. The Bears did hold a 3-0 advantage in corner kicks, but were unable to come up with a score.
Just minutes after kick-off, North Carolina worked the ball around the field and saw an opening for a shot, but fortunately for Bruno the ball sailed wide right. Brown earned its first of three corner kicks at the 31:24 mark, but UNC's goalkeeper Brooks Haggerty was able to punch it away and out of the box.
After a Brown foul, UNC sophomore forward Billy Schuler lit up the scoreboard with a header at the 25:30 mark after receiving a pass from sophomore midfielder Kirk Urso to gain a 1-0 advantage. Not long after its first goal, UNC's Cameron Brown accepted a cross a few feet in front of the goal and blasted the ball toward the net. Brown's Grandstrand made a huge save and sent the ball up the field.
The Bears had back-to-back corner kick attempts with just over 13 minutes remaining in the first half, but Hagerty knocked the first out of bounds and the UNC defenders were able to shut down the second to remain with a one-goal advantage heading into the half.
The second period started out very similar to the first, as UNC continued to maintain control of the ball on offense. Cameron Brown's shot just three minutes into the period missed high, and he was able to get off another shot just a few minutes later only to be saved by Grandstrand.
After a Tar Heel foul, sophomore Jay Hayward (Acton, MA) fired off Brown's first shot on goal, but Haggerty made the stop to tally his first save of the game. North Carolina continued to bombard Brown's goal with shots, which included an Alex Dixon breakaway, but Grandstrand continued to make solid saves in net to keep UNC from adding to the scoreboard.
Midway through the second period, the Bears increased their intensity and became more of a threat on the offensive end. Brown strung together three solid attacks on goal, as the first came on a cross from rookie defender Dylan Remick (Inverness, IL) into senior midfielder Nick Elenz-Martin at the 18:20 mark that was cleared by the UNC defense. Sophomore Rob Medairos (Stafford, VA) flicked a pass to sophomore Taylor Gorman (Freeport, ME) just outside of the box with 15 minutes on the clock, but the ball sailed high and over the net.
Brown continued its offensive pressure on the Tar Heels, but still could not penetrate the defense. Remick had Brown's best and final shot on goal with just a few minutes remaining in the game, as he delivered a shot that nearly curved into the goal but hit the crossbar instead.
With just 1:18 remaining, Alex Dixon blew by the Brown defense and pushed the ball up the field on a breakaway. Dixon blasted a shot from eight yards out that got past a diving Grandstrand to give UNC a 2-0 lead and win the game.
There were a total of 29 fouls in the hard-fought battle, as Brown committed 17 to UNC's 12. The Tar Heels out-shot the Bears 11-5, as goalkeeper Brooks Haggerty collected two saves in net. Brown's Grandstrand ended the day with five saves, and finished the season with a 10-3-5 record in goal.