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No. 7 Tar Heels Down Flames
After starting the season 3-0, the Flames have dropped their last two contests to fall to 3-2 on the season. The Tar Heels remain unbeaten with a 5-0-1 mark.
North Carolina and Liberty traded shots through the first 30 minutes of the non-conference contest. During the stretch, the Flames' best chance at denting the scoreboard came in the 23rd minute. Joshua Boateng (Sr., MF, Accra, Ghana) fired a shot from in close, which Tar Heel goalkeeper Brooks Haggerty stopped to prevent Liberty from staking itself to an early advantage.
North Carolina countered in the 32nd minute. A shot by forward Eddie Ababio hit the crossbar and bounded out to midfielder Chris Lebo, whose follow-up shot was wide.
Less than two minutes later, the Tar Heels netted the contest's first goal. Forward Billy Schuler headed down a long free kick by Haggerty onto the foot of Ababio, who beat Flames keeper Paul Gilbert (So., Rockvale, Tenn.) with a shot, to give North Carolina a 1-0 lead at 33:07.
Liberty quickly erased the Tar Heels' advantage, scoring 17 seconds later. A shot by midfielder Chris Phillips (R-Fr., Brownsburg, Ind.) was blocked in front of the North Carolina goal by a defender. Boateng pounced on the rebound and blasted a shot into the lower right-hand corner of the net for his third goal of the year, tying the game at 1-1.
Over the next 10 minutes, neither team was able to get off a shot, as the contest appeared headed to intermission deadlocked.
However, off a corner kick with a minute left in the half, Alex Dixon scored his first goal of the season, sending the Tar Heels to the break up, 2-1.
The first 30 minutes of the second half featured solid defensive play by both squads, as each team was only able to attempt one shot apiece.
As the contest entered the 80th minute, North Carolina was able to extend its advantage, scoring on only its second chance of the half. Lebo was able to send a crossing pass from the right side through several players from both teams in the penalty area, finding Shriver on the left wing, who finished for a 3-1 Tar Heel lead.
Liberty had an opportunity to cut into the North Carolina edge in the 85th minute. After a Tar Heel foul gave Liberty a free kick at the top of the 18-yard box, a shot to the right of a wall of North Carolina defenders by Flame midfielder Karol Chorak (Fr., Saint Louis, Mo.) was corralled by Haggerty, preventing a Liberty score.
Minutes later, the Tar Heels sealed the victory when Dixon scored his second goal of the night off a Liberty turnover for the final 4-1 margin.
North Carolina outshot Liberty, 12-7, in the contest, and also held the advantage in corners, 9-1.
Gilbert recorded one save in the Liberty net, while Tar Heel netminder Haggerty made two saves.
The Flames travel to Washington, D.C., Friday, to square off with the Bison of Howard. Match time is scheduled for 7 p.m.