CHAPEL HILL — It's now become habit.
North Carolina became the first team to reach the men's soccer College Cup without winning an NCAA tournament game, advancing past Southern Methodist 4-2 on penalty kicks in the quarterfinals at Fetzer Field on Friday night.
"It seems to be a standard now," Tar Heels coach Elmar Bolowich said. "We're playing, we're playing, we're pushing the tempo, we're getting the shots, and we are still tied [at the end of two overtime periods]."
UNC and SMU played to a 1-1 tie after regulation and a pair of 10-minute overtime periods.
North Carolina advanced past Georgetown and Michigan State in the second and third rounds at Fetzer Field. With the No. 4 seed, the Heels had a first-round bye.
This will be the third straight trip to the College Cup for North Carolina (16-3-4).
"Overall, I thought we played much better than we did in the first two matches," Bolowich said. "I thought we took the initiative. ... SMU was well-organized. ... They really didn't give us much."
Mustangs senior goalkeeper Craig Hill said he wasn't nervous about penalty kicks. His team advanced from the first round on penalty kicks.
"I was actually excited for it," Hill said.
But right off the bat, SMU senior midfielder Josue Soto hit the crossbar with the first shot, the first of two Mustangs to miss their kicks.
"We usually finish them," Hill said.
Tar Heels senior defender Jalil Anibaba gave the situation some thought before he clinched it by scoring on the Heels' fourth straight penalty kick.
"I was just thinking completely about where I was going and about my technique, rethinking about how we go over and over and over it in practice," Anibaba said.
The Mustangs (16-2-2) wasted no time getting on the board early.
In the fifth minute, freshman midfielder Robbie Derschang raced down the left wing before firing a long pass across the posts.
Brazilian junior midfielder Arthur Ivo sent the well-placed ball into the net at 4:41, the quickest the Heels have given up a goal all season.
UNC responded five minutes later, with junior midfielder Kirk Urso scoring his fifth goal of the season on a cross from 12 yards out at 9:40.
North Carolina sophomore midfielder Enzo Martinez earned the assist on the play.
"That really lifted us up," Bolowich said. "From that point on, I felt comfortable about us producing more, but it didn't happen. It wasn't for a lack of trying."
The teams played a pretty even first half, with both teams having scoring chances snuffed out by their opponent.
At halftime, the score sheet was even across the categories. Both teams had taken two shots on goal, six shots overall and three corner kicks.
The Heels outshot the Mustangs 12-2 in the second half.
"It's frustrating, but at the same time we're creating opportunities," Urso said. "We're just trying to stay focused and keep telling each other that the next one is going in."
UNC will face the winner of today's Louisville-UCLA quarterfinal in the College Cup semifinals in Santa Barbara, Calif.
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