UNC Men’s Soccer Spring Schedule Highlighted by Urso Memorial Match

The UNC men’s soccer spring schedule will be highlighted by a rematch of the 2011 national championship match against UNC Charlotte in the Kirk Urso Memorial Match.

Kirk Urso was a captain on the 2011 squad and led the Tar Heels to a national championship during his senior campaign in the game against the 49ers.

Urso went on to be chosen by the Columbus Crew with the number 10 overall pick in the 2012 MLS Supplemental Draft. Urso appeared in six games for the Crew in 2012 before getting injured. Urso then suddenly passed away at 22 years old from an Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy in August 2012.

The Crew then created the Kirk Urso Memorial Fund. And now the fund sponsors an annual grant focused on the prevention, diagnosis and/or treatment of cardiac heart defects and sudden cardiac death in youth in a partnership with The Children’s Heart Foundation.

A portion of all ticket sales, donations, merchandise sales, raffle and silent auction funds from the memorial match will go directly to the Kirk Urso Memorial Fund, according to the university.

Tickets to the Kirk Urso Memorial Match are $5 and will get patrons access to four games featuring High Point vs. Appalachian State at noon, UNCG vs. Campbell at 2:30, Wake Forest vs. Elon at five o’clock and, finally, North Carolina vs. Charlotte at 7:30 on Saturday, April 9. The game will be played at Macpherson Stadium in Browns Summit.

The spring schedule begins at 3:30 this Sunday afternoon against the Wilmington Hammerheads of the United Soccer League at the WRAL Soccer Complex in Raleigh.

UNC will take on South Carolina at three o’clock on April 2 at Manchester Meadows in Rock Hill, South Carolina, before finishing the spring slate in Richmond, Virginia, against Georgetown.


UNC Soccer Star Named ACC Men’s Soccer Scholar-Athlete of the Year

UNC senior defender Jonathan Campbell has been named the 2015 Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Soccer Scholar-Athlete of the Year, the conference announced Tuesday.

Campbell started all 20 games for the Tar Heels in 2015 and scored one goal and accumulated four assists from his defense position.

Campbell was selected with the number 12 pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft by the Chicago Fire.

Campbell earned All-America honors for his play and for his performance in the classroom during his senior campaign for the Tar Heels.

This marked the fourth time Campbell, who graduated in December, was named to the All-ACC Academic Team. He is the only member of the team to receive the honor four times.

Carolina sophomore David October and freshman Alex Comsia were also named to Academic All-Conference team. It was the first selection for both.


Signing Day For UNC Men’s Soccer

Wednesday is National Signing Day for college football, but it is also signing day for men’s soccer.

The UNC Men’s Soccer team is announcing new Tar Heels on Twitter.

The day began with an announcement that Drew Murphy would be transferring from UC Santa Barbara.

The Tar Heels’ first high school signee is Drew Romig.  Romig comes to Chapel Hill from Midlothian, Virginia.  

 Then, Carolina added the 2015 NSCAA Youth National Player of the Year.  Cam Lindley joins the Tar Heels from Carmel, Indiana.

Jack Skahan will come from Memphis, Tennessee to join the Tar Heels.

Carolina then added local product Jeremy Kelly.  The Chapel Hill product played his high school soccer at Cardinal Gibbons.  His brother, Robert, plays for the UNC Men’s Tennis team.

 In 2015, the Tar Heels finished the season with a record of 15-2-3.  Three players from the team were selected in the top 12 picks of the Major League Soccer SuperDraft.


Three UNC Men’s Soccer Players Drafted in 1st Round

Three players from the UNC men’s soccer were selected in the top 12 picks of the Major League Soccer SuperDraft on Thursday.

Omar Holness was selected by Real Salt Lake with the fifth overall pick, followed by Jordan McCrary being picked by the New England Revolution at number 10 and Jonathan Campbell going at number 12 to the Chicago Fire.

Jordan McCrary. Photo via UNC.

Jordan McCrary. Photo via UNC.

This marked the first time in program history to UNC men’s soccer players were selected in the top 10 of the same SuperDraft.

Holness is the highest Tar Heel selected in the draft since Zach Loyd also was picked at number five by FC Dallas in 2010. Holness is the fourth UNC player chosen by Real Salt Lake since 2005.

Jonathan Campbell. Photo via UNC.

Jonathan Campbell. Photo via UNC.

McCrary is the second Tar Heel selected by the Revolution, and Campbell is the third Carolina player chosen by the Fire.

UNC has had 44 players drafted or as homegrown selections since 2000, according to the university.


Stroman On Sports: Too Many QBs, Not Enough Fans?

The Carolina football team is riding a three-game winning streak into ACC play, but all is not entirely well in Chapel Hill.

On the field, Mitch Trubisky’s record-breaking performance against Delaware is a bit of a double-edged sword, leaving Larry Fedora with a tougher decision about who will lead the Tar Heel offense. (Though for his part, Fedora insists there’s no quarterback controversy and Marquise Williams is still number one.)

Off the field, Kenan Stadium has seen remarkably low attendance for UNC’s early home games – not just against FCS opponents like Delaware, but also Power 5 opponents like Illinois.

Kenan-Flagler Business School professor and sports analyst Deb Stroman discussed those issues and more with Aaron Keck on WCHL Monday.


Stroman On Sports: If God Is Not A Tar Heel

It was another good weekend for UNC athletics, as the Carolina men’s soccer, women’s soccer, field hockey and volleyball teams all posted impressive wins alongside the football team’s shellacking of Illinois. Meanwhile, the national headlines were abuzz with the latest flap between NFL quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers: Rodgers zinged Wilson’s penchant for praising God after wins after his Packers beat Wilson’s Seahawks.

(Not in the national headlines: the ongoing WNBA playoffs. Which raises its own set of questions.)

UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School professor and sports analyst Deborah Stroman joined Aaron Keck on WCHL Monday to talk about these issues.


Sweet Victory, Bitter Defeat Contrast for Tar Heels

There was plenty to offer on the Tar Heel sports menu over the weekend, and while it was a heartbreaking end of the road for one Carolina squad, it was the continuation of a national championship march for another.

***Listen to the story***

UNC soccer senior midfielder and Greensboro native Glen Long will remember Saturday night’s game for the rest of his life.

The Tar Heels’ NCAA Tournament fate rested on the strength of his leg and with the game and the season on the line, Long’s penalty kick was gobbled up by UCLA goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr.

In the eighth round, the Bruins clinched the gut-wrenching home victory with another sprawling save by Edwards Jr. And just like that, UNC’s season came to a close with a 15-5-2 final record.

Photo courtesy of UNC Athletics

Photo courtesy of UNC Athletics

For four impactful Tar Heels in particular, the loss will be even tougher to take. As seniors, their soccer careers at Carolina have now ended, including captain Boyd Okwuonu, goal scorers Tyler Engel and Andy Craven, and stingy goalkeeper Brendan Moore.

UNC  head coach Carlos Somoano will do well to replace such pivotal performers next season.

Meanwhile, the locker room was a happier place for the Tar Heels back on the east coast.

The UNC volleyball team continued its winning ways with a tough 3-1 win over Southern California inside Carmichael Arena Saturday evening. The Tar Heels have triumphed in a school record 19th straight contest.

Now Sweet Sixteen bound, head coach Joe Sagula says the 2nd round NCAA Tournament match was an outstanding showcase of top-notch volleyball.

“I want to congratulate our North Carolina program, as well as Southern California for a great match – what a great battle,” Coach Sagula says.

Carolina’s coach, now in his 25th season in Chapel Hill, lauds his strong stable of seniors for the perfect 16-0 season mark in the cozy confines of Carmichael Arena.

Photo courtesy of UNC Athletics

Photo courtesy of UNC Athletics

“This is why I have these four seniors with us here right now. This is significant for this program, what these four represent to us and what they done and how they’ve seen this program grow. Tonight was a special night for them and for this whole team,” Coach Sagula says.

Senior Lauren McAdoo says she’s proud of her team for overcoming obstacles and reaching for their lofty goals.

“It has been a goal since we got here to make it to the Sweet Sixteen. It shows the heart and fight of this team, through all adversity, to stick to our goal and fought through it together,” McAdoo says.

Senior classmate Ece Taner, who notched 24 digs and a service ace against the Trojans, says she’s enjoying every moment of the historic season, but is also excited for the road that lies ahead.

“We want it as a senior class to be able to play a really tough team. We’re glad that we played a team and are really excited. It’s hard to describe how special this feeling is. We’re ready to play more,” Taner says.

Next up for the surging Tar Heels is a Sweet Sixteen showdown with tenth-seeded Oregon Friday in the Sports Pavilion in Minneapolis.


UNC Men’s Soccer Loses to UCLA in Shootout

The UNC men’s soccer team fell to UCLA in the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals after eight rounds of penalty kicks in overtime Saturday night at Drake Stadium.

Carolina led the Bruins 1-0 going into halftime after a free kick goal from sophomore Omar Holness. The Bruins threatened early in the open of the second half and scored from close range in the 69th minute to tie the game, 1-1.

The Bruins scored another goal just moments later and led the Tar Heels by one. UCLA scored yet again in the 74th minute and were ahead 3-1.

The Tar Heels rallied back and scored two goals within 30 seconds of each other. Senior Tyler Engel scored off a corner kick in the 78th minute making the score 3-2. Twenty-four seconds later senior Andy Craven was able to snatch a goal off of an assist from Raby George.

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With UNC and UCLA tied 3-3 in the 90th minute, it would take a round of penalty kicks to decide the final team in the Men’s College Cup. With the game on the line, North Carolina sent Glen Long to take the kick. UCLA goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr. made the crucial game-saving stop and both teams proceeded to make their next two attempts. Going into the eighth round, UNC’S Warren Marshall took the final shot for the Tar Heels, but Edwards Jr. was there to make the sprawling save to advance the Bruins into the Final Four.

The penalty kick victory was the first for UCLA in NCAA Tournament play since the 1990 championship game.

Four Tar Heels finished their soccer career with UNC Saturday night, including captain Boyd Okwuonu, goal-scorers Engel and Craven, and goalkeeper Brendan Moore.



Tar Heels Aim For National Glory On Turf, Court

Two successful Tar Heel programs hope to take the next steps toward potential national championships this weekend. The UNC men’s soccer team hits the road at UCLA, while the Carolina volleyball squad opens up its NCAA Tournament inside the cozy confines of Carmichael Arena.

***Listen to the story***

Head coach Carlos Somoano’s men’s soccer team is on the doorstep of a College Cup in its own back yard.

The final four schools will contest the closing matches just down the road from Chapel Hill at the WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary – the 15-5-1 Tar Heels sure wouldn’t have far to go to celebrate a national championship on Franklin Street.

Rob Lovejoy in action (UNC Athletics)

Rob Lovejoy in action (UNC Athletics)

But before those dreams can be met, UNC must find a way past No. 2 seed UCLA on their home turf, a daunting task to say the least.

Unseeded Carolina, one of only two remaining in the quarterfinals, will rely heavily on senior forward Rob Lovejoy, who was named TopDrawerSoccer’s Player of the Week after scoring both goals in his team’s 2-1 triumph over Clemson last Sunday night.

With Lovejoy’s offensive prowess and UNC keeper Brendan Moore’s proclivity for goal-saving heroics, the Tar Heels will go into Saturday night’s 8 p.m. showdown in Los Angeles with a shot.

Meanwhile, back on the east coast, the Tar Heel women are ready to serve up a storm on the volleyball court.

Fresh off an ACC regular season title, UNC head coach Joe Sagula says he’s proud of his team’s accomplishments in 2014.

“Without question, this team has done a lot of great things this year – highest ranking ever, highest RPI ever, finishing with a conference championship. It’s going to go down as a pretty special thing to beat. I’m excited for them all,” Coach Sagula says.

Chaniel Nelson with the spike (UNC Athletics)

Chaniel Nelson with the spike (UNC Athletics)

Fifth-year senior Chaniel Nelson, who earned her second ACC Player of the Week honors on Monday, says she couldn’t be more excited for the way her final season in Carolina uniform has turned out.

“I am very excited. This makes my fifth year priceless in my eyes. We have more to. That’s what I’m even more excited about. I can’t wait until next week when we host for the first time in so long. This team is really special,” Nelson says.

Senior Ece Taner, from Turkey, says it’s special to know she’s leaving a meaningful mark on the UNC volleyball program.

“I can’t describe to you how proud, happy and excited I am to be able to make an impact on this program and be able to leave something for other teammates. When I come back and watch my teammates compete, I get to see the banner and say, ‘Wow, I did something here.’ That’s everything you could ask for,” Taner says.

But don’t let Taner’s excitement fool you. She’s not satisfied. The Tar Heels want more.

“This was one of our goals. Our mission still continues. We still have hopefully, four more games to go. We’re really excited about that. We’re humble, we’re hungry, and we want more,” Taner says.

A humble and hungry mindset could produce a winning combo for the 26-2 Tar Heels, who open NCAA Tournament play Friday night against 21-10 Hampton.


Tar Heel Men’s Soccer Edges Clemson, Advances To QFs

Rob Lovejoy netted a pair of goals and goalie Brendan Moore turned aside every shot he faced except for a penalty kick to help the UNC men’s soccer team advance to the final eight in the NCAA tournament with a 2-1 road win over Clemson Sunday evening.

Lovejoy, who missed the entire 2013 season due to a torn groin muscle, was terrific in scoring his fourth and fifth goals of the season for the Tar Heels (15-5-1).

Lovejoy’s first goal came off a superbly placed corner kick by Omar Holness that he headed into the top right corner of the netting for a 1-0 lead 13 minutes in.

The senior forward’s second tally came after he burglarized the ball from Manolo Sanchez in the offensive zone and ripped a shot into the lower right corner of the goal.

The Greensboro native’s second goal came after the midpoint of the second half and snapped a 1-1 tie.

Moore was terrific throughout, using superb positioning and quickness between the pipes to shut down Clemson. The Tigers (12-7-3) lone goal came via a Kyle Fisher penalty kick that he blasted down the middle of the goal at the 23-minute mark of the opening half.

Moore started to go to his right but still nearly booted the shot away, though the force of the drive was too much to be denied. Moore still collected seven saves, compared to just a pair for Tiger netminder Andrew Tarbell.

Otherwise it was match of missed opportunities for Clemson, as Sanchez either shot wide on a few chances or was stymied by Moore. Clemson’s national title count will hold at two, while the Tar Heels will continue their pursuit for a third crown.

UNC moved on to the quarterfinals for the sixth time in the last seven years. The Tar Heels will play the winner of Sunday night’s match between No. 2 seed UCLA and 15th-seed California.