CHAPEL HILL – Tyler Engel scored in the 103rd minute to give No. 4 North Carolina a season-opening 1-0 victory over Monmouth Friday night from Fetzer Field.
Playing his first game at Carolina, the SMU transfer put an end to a long day of soccer when he blasted a shot from 16 yards over the outstretched arms of Monmouth keeper Stephen Graziani and into the far-left corner for the game-winning goal.
UNC (1-0) junior keeper Brendan Moore made just one save, but it was enough to earn a clean sheet in his first career start for the Tar Heels.
Carolina allowed only two shots by the Hawks, while the home team had 12.
After a rather ho-hum 90 minutes of regulation, UNC picked up its pace and played well over the first 10 minute session of overtime.
The momentum continued into the second extra session. The build-up to the goal started from Jordan McCary when he found Nick Williams in the right corner of the pitch. Williams would then find Engel just inside the 18-yard box. The junior striker new exactly what he needed to do, and sent his shot into the back of the net to end the game at the 102:17 mark.
Monmouth (0-1) played a defensive minded game all evening, making it difficult for the Heels to slip passes and find breathing room in their offensive zone. Despite that, UNC still came up with six shots in the second half, including a couple late attempts in regulation by Engel and McCrary.
The Heels had four of the five shots in the first half, however, both teams had a couple opportunities at the first goal of the match.
UNC’s Josh Rice had the first shot of the season in the fifth minute when he sent his ball over the cross bar from 22-yards out.
A little over 10 minutes later, Monmouth earned a set piece after a Carolina foul. Coming in from 28 yards out, the Hawks sent a cross into the box that ping-ponged around the goal area but was cleared away by the Heels defense.
Rice again was on the loose in the 28th minute when he made a stutter-step move to the right and unleashed a shot that went on frame, but Graziani made a clean save to keep the game scoreless.
Moments later Rice and Engel attempted a close range, one-touch pass, but Engel could not get a clean foot on the ball as he bulled over the defender instead.
UNC will host No. 13 Coastal Carolina on Sunday at 7 p.m., in the final match of the Carolina Nike Classic from Fetzer Field.