North Carolina ends Towson's NCAA run

Tired Tigers are unable to defend give-and-go in 3-0 loss to Tar Heels

November 26, 2001|By Kelly Lusk | Kelly Lusk,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Put the blame on a balding, wet Fetzer Field. Or on the potent North Carolina men's soccer team. Or on the fact that Towson played a hard-fought match against James Madison less than 48 hours before.

For whatever reason, the Tigers' defense played yesterday as if it had cement blocks around its ankles.

And seventh-seeded UNC took full advantage of Towson's slower legs, trouncing the Tigers, 3-0, in the second round of the NCAA playoffs.

"Fatigue does play a part when you play again 48 hours later," Towson coach Frank Olszewski said. "And we were constantly under pressure today."

The Tar Heels (17-4) sent shot after shot at Tigers goalkeeper Chris Hurley, who recorded a season-high 10 saves.

In the 28th minute, North Carolina midfielder Grant Porter served a cross to forward Ryan Kneipper, who caught Hurley flat-footed on the opposite side of the net. Kneipper jumped and headed the ball into the center of the goal to begin his team's scoring.

"I didn't think he'd be able to get up and get it," Hurley said.

Hurley wasn't the only Tiger caught on his heels. In the 56th minute, Kneipper passed to defender Chris Leitch at the top of the box, and Leitch weaved through three Towson defenders, and sent the ball past Hurley to give the Tar Heels a 2-0 lead.

"They played a lot of give-and-gos, and we weren't following the second runner," sweeper Steve Hoeck said. "That was a big factor."

At the other end of the field, the Tar Heels shut down Towson's one-two forward combination of Machel Millwood and Alfonso DeMares. The two combined for 26 goals this season.

Unfortunately for the Tigers (16-5-1), they were never able to get their offense untracked.

"We're used to playing quick one-twos, and we like having a good first touch," DeMares said. "But it wasn't on. We couldn't get open for a shot."

Towson managed only seven shots on goal, while UNC's 27 made Hurley a busy man. Kneipper was especially pesky inside the Tigers' penalty area.

In the 60th minute, Tar Heels defender David Stokes made a run down the left sideline and broke free inside the box. Hurley came out to challenge, leaving Kneipper open to one-touch the pass into an empty net."[Kneipper] was their main man up there," Hurley said. "Every long ball they played out of the back was pretty much to him, and the other players ran around him. They were all over us. It was a little overwhelming."

North Carolina advanced to face American on Sunday at 1 p.m. in Chapel Hill.

Goals: NC-Kneipper 2, Leitch. Assists: NC-Kneipper, Porter, Stokes. Saves: T-Hurley 2; NC-Ueltschey 4. Halftime: NC, 1-0.

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