In the sheets of rain and gusts of wind, Christopher Widman stood tallest.
The N.C. State senior goalkeeper led his team to a 1-0 shootout victory over North Carolina in the first round of the ACC Men's Soccer Championships at WakeMed Soccer Park Wednesday.
After blocking his first penalty kick in the shootout, Widman scored on a penalty kick, and then blocked the next shot he faced.
N.C. State (12-5-2) clinched the victory when senior midfielder Alan Sanchez scored on the next kick.
"For it to come down to PKs, it's a lot of fun," Widman said. "Carolina is a great team," said Widman. "We've played some tough games with them, come out on the wrong end a few times recently so it's great to finally win."
But both the Wolfpack and the Tar Heels (13-2-3) had their chances throughout the game.
"It was obviously a tough, tough game for us," UNC coach Elmar Bolowich said. "I think it was also a tough game for N.C. State. I cannot fault our players for anything. They gave their best effort. We faced a very strong and well-organized opponent today. They made life difficult for us. ... In the end, it was the team that would capitalize on opportunities the most."
Late the game, both teams had several scoring chances, with several dangerous shots just floating above both goals.
On one play in overtime, Widman was drawn into the corner chasing down a ball, but found himself on the ground with nobody protecting the net. But the ensuing shot was shanked wide and out of bounds.
"I was trying to shield it out of bounds and Carolina is a pretty quick team," Widman said. "The guy beat me to it. He's a quick guy and got around me."
For Wolfpack defender Chandler Knox, whose parents both attended UNC, it was an emotion experience.
"That's always a game that gets me really excited," Knox said of playing the Heels. "We were prepared. We were excited. We were ready to rock and roll. It's a huge win for us going into the postseason."
Knox recalled a game early this season that reminded him of the day's conditions.
"It was raining three times worse, just not as cold and windy," he said.
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