NOTRE DAME, IN – Tyler Engel scored his third goal in as many games and No. 1 North Carolina tied No. 4 Notre Dame, 1-1, Sunday afternoon at Alumni Stadium. Josh Rice nearly won it for the Tar Heels in the first overtime period when his strike from distance rifled off the post in the 94th minute, but the top-5 teams shared the points in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener.
Engel put Carolina (2-0-1) ahead in the 18th minute with an incredible individual effort. The junior controlled the ball outside the penalty area before beating a defender and chipping the Notre Dame goalkeeper with the outside of his right foot. The goal was the third of the year for the SMU transfer and the Tar Heels spent most of the rest of the afternoon trying to defend the 1-0 advantage.
Notre Dame (1-0-2) was on the front foot for most of the second half and nearly equalized in the 77th minute, but Jordan McCrary saved an Irish shot off the line and the hosts couldn’t convert the rebound.
ND made it 1-1 just two minutes later, however, after Carolina was unable to clear a corner. Brendan Moore saved the initial effort on goal from Nick Besler but Leon Brown collected the rebound and deposited into the roof of the net to tie the game 11 minutes from time.
Rice had a headed attempt saved just seconds before the end of regulation, and the two sides entered golden goal overtime.
After being outshot 13-5 in the second half, Carolina regained some of the momentum in the first overtime period and nearly won it on Rice’s solo effort from distance.
Moore made the key save of the second overtime period, smartly handling a chipped effort from Vince Cicciarelli in the 106th minute. The junior from Atlanta finished with a career-high seven saves in his third game as the UNC starter.
In the end, the draw was a fair result for a pair of teams that expect to contend for the ACC title in 2013. The game was the first league contest in any sport for Notre Dame as a member of the ACC. The Irish competed in the Big East prior this fall.
Carolina returns to the pitch at Fetzer Field Friday, Sept. 13, at 7 p.m. against No. 13 Maryland. That match will be televised on ESPN3 and can be watched live at WatchESPN.com or the WatchESPN app.