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No. 2 North Carolina Downs Liberty, 2-0
The No. 2 North Carolina Tar Heels used a strong defensive effort, en route to a 2-0 victory over the Liberty Flames, Tuesday night in a non-conference men's soccer match at Osborne Stadium.
Liberty falls to 6-5-1 on the year, while North Carolina moves to 9-2. The Flames have dropped three consecutive contests.
After trading shots which went wide during the opening 15 minutes, Tar Heel midfielder Kirk Urso came free for a shot from the right side of the box in the 16th minute. However, Urso could not settle the ball and his shot was deflected over the goal by Liberty goalkeeper Paul Gilbert.
In the 18th minute, defender Chris Osborne created an opportunity for the Flames by lofting a kick into the right side of the 18-yard box. Midfielder Alex Verville sent a header towards the net, which North Carolina goalkeeper Scott Goodwin quickly grabbed near the goal line to prevent a score.
The Tar Heels struck for their first goal of the night in the 34th minute. On the left side of the field, forward Enzo Martinez spun around a Liberty defender and moved into the left side of the penalty area. After gaining the box, North Carolina's leading scorer lifted a shot over Gilbert's head and into the right corner of the net for a 1-0 advantage and his fifth goal of the season.
Liberty midfielder Richard Nyarko and Tar Heel forward Alex Dixon traded wide shots during the 50th minute to begin the second half.
In the 62nd minute, North Carolina forward Carlos McCrary came free on a give-and-go with Dixon and ripped a shot from the top, right-hand corner of the 18-yard box, which hit the post. The loose ball was pounced on by Gilbert, ending the attack.
The Tar Heels extended their lead to the final margin of 2-0 at 74:44. Martinez dropped a pass for forward Martin Murray, who scored his third goal of the season from 20 yards out, to add to the North Carolina advantage.
In the 80th minute, a shot by Verville from 25 yards went wide, as the North Carolina defense kept the Flames from penetrating the 18-yard box.
The Tar Heels outshot the Flames, 14-10, on the evening and corner kicks were even at one apiece.
Gilbert went the distance in the Liberty net, making three saves. Goodwin recorded his and North Carolina's fifth shutout of the year, with two saves.
The Flames go on the road for a Big South Conference match with the Presbyterian Blue Hose, Friday. Game time is scheduled for 6 p.m.