[NCAA DIVISION I MEN] Sophomores Kirk Urso and Alex Dixon scored in a three-minute span in the second half to give No. 5 seed North Carolina to a 2-1 win over upstart Drake in the NCAA Division I men's quarterfinals Friday at Fetzer Field. With the victory, the Tar Heels are headed back to the Men's College Cup next weekend at Cary's WakeMed Soccer Park.
Carolina will face either No. 1 seed Akron or No. 8 seed Tulsa, who square off at 4 p.m. Saturday in a quarterfinal match.
Urso, who scored in the 55th minute, and Dixon, who followed in the 58th, with his fourth goal of the NCAA Tournament. sophomore scoring streak for Carolina, which has gotten all five of its postseason goals from second-year players. Dixon found the back of the net for the third straight game for the Tar Heels, who have outscored their NCAA tourney opposition by a 5-1 margin.
"I thought for the most part of the game we controlled the tempo and did what we had to do," said UNC head Elmar Bolowich. "We just couldn't get the goals in the first half while we had the chances to do so. Our goal coming out of halftime in the first 15 minutes was to score and put the pressure on Drake further. Then Kirk used the opportunity with a wonderful strike to break the ice, and Alex followed up with a counter attack goal."
Drake's Kenan Malicevic scored with 41 seconds left to trim the score to the final one-goal margin.
"I liked what we did," said Bolowich. "We really worked the ball pretty well and created so many opportunities in front of the goal in a quarterfinal match. We don't want to sit back. We want to attack all the time. It's just an issue of getting a few more goals to make it easier on ourselves."
Drake was making its first appearance in the Elite Eight.
"That was clearly the best team we've played all year and I thought at the end of our 25-game journey that we perhaps were a little bit gassed out," Drake coach Sean Holmes said. "To constantly go on the road is challenging and I don't want the one painful 90 minutes to undue the work that the guys have done all season."