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Nov. 9, 2012
GERMANTOWN, Md. - When it comes to a penalty-kick shootout, Scott Goodwin is a good man to have on your side.
Second-seeded North Carolina outlasted sixth-seeded Virginia on PKs by a 4-3 count in Friday night's Atlantic Coast Conference Men's Soccer Championship first semifinal game after the teams battled to a scoreless stalemate through regulation and two 10-minute overtime periods.
The penalty kick tally was knotted at 3-3 when Goodwin, UNC's standout goalkeeper, made a diving save of Virginia junior Shane Cooke's attempt. Jordan Gafa, the Tar Heels' fifth man up, followed by successfully lining his attempt into the back of the net to send UNC (15-2-2) into Sunday's noon semifinal game against the winner of Friday night's second semifinal match between top-seeded Maryland and fourth-seeded Clemson.
"Virginia had a great game plan, made us work and dig everything out of ourselves that we could, and I think we did the same to them," UNC coach Carlos Somoano said. "I wish them the best of luck in the NCAA tournament but I'm very proud to advance and proud of our guys for once again finding a way to get through."
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Goodwin recorded his 15th clean sheet of the season and extended his shutout streak to 470 minutes. Goodwin has posted three shutout streaks of at least 300 minutes this season. The Raleigh, N.C., senior extended his school-record career shutout total to 39, good for seventh place on the NCAA's all-time list.
"The biggest thing is to just to take it one shot at a time," Goodwin said in describing his focus during the penalty kick phase of the match. "If the first few get away from you, you have to focus on the next one and stick to the game plan and give it your best shot every time."
With Friday night's effort, Goodwin also became the first UNC goalkeeper since 2005 to post to five straight shutouts.
UNC, which has won its last five matches that went to penalty kicks, prevailed in overtime against Virginia in ACC Championship play for the third straight time. The Tar Heels scored 1-0 wins in overtime last season and in 2000.
With a No. 15 ranking in the most recent RPI, Virginia (9-6-4) remains hopeful of a solid NCAA Championship seeding when the bracket is announced on Monday. The Cavaliers have played a school-record five straight overtime games.
"It's a disappointing way to exit any post season tournament, but it is what it is, and I know we will be getting ourselves ready for the NCAA Tournament now," Virginia coach George Gelnovatch said.
Friday night's first half saw North Carolina outshoot Virginia, 4-1, though the Cavaliers' one chance was an on-goal effort by Darius Madison that was thwarted by the Tar Heels' Goodwin. Andy Craven had a pair of shots on goal for UNC, but Cavalier goalie Spencer LaCivita made the stop on both of those attempts.
The second half and overtime brought much of the same. The Tar Heels finished with a 9-5 edge in total shots and led in corner kicks, 10-4. LaCivita finished with four saves in goals for Virginia.
"When you get to this point, I think most coaches want to make sure you don't leave yourself vulnerable, and you saw both teams very determined and disciplined not to get scored on and try to let the other team make the mistake," Gelnovatch said.
UNC, the defending NCAA and conference champion, will be seeking its fourth ACC Championship title on Sunday. The Tar Heels claimed the crown in 1987 and 2000 in addition to last season.