CLEMSON – The No. 15 UNC men’s soccer team dropped a 2-1 decision at Clemson in the quarterfinal round of the ACC Tournament Tuesday night.
Two late goals by Clemson was the difference in the come-from-behind victory, advancing the Tigers to the ACC semifinals for the second-straight year.
On the flip side, this will be the first time since 2009 that Carolina doesn’t advance to the semis, and the first under head coach Carlos Somoano.
In the regular season match up between the two clubs, Clemson scored just 64 second into the game in Chapel Hill on Oct. 8. An early goal that ultimately led to a 2-1 Tigers win in overtime.
Tuesday it was Carolina that struck early in the match. Cooper Vandermaas-Peeler waited only 29 seconds to find the back of the net to stake the road team to a very early 1-0 advantage.
Midfielder Alex Olofson earned an assist on Vandermaas-Peeler’s third goal of the year that was deposited into the upper left-hand corner from just outside the 18-yard box.
Strong work by all 11 Tar Heel players maintained the slim margin with keeper Brendan Moore keeping his goal area tidy most of the night.
Signs pointed to Carolina advancing on the early goal, but Clemson found the equalizer with exactly 15 minutes left in regulation to knot the match at 1-1.
T.J. Casner one touched a side volley into the upper-left corner from close range off assists from Manolo Sanchez and Ara Amirkhanian for his third goal of 2013.
As the momentum began to move in the Tigers favor, the pendulum swung even further in favor of Clemson when Kyle Fisher headed home a corner kick to take a 2-1 lead in the 82nd minute.
Carolina could not muster another goal in the final minutes in dropping back-to-back games for the first time since all the way back in the 2008 season, a remarkable run that saw the Tar Heels advance to four-straight College Cups and the 2011 national title.