CHAPEL HILL — In a tie game between North Carolina and Coastal Carolina, Enzo Martinez and Kirk Urso were confused who was going to take a free kick in the 69th minute.
Urso, Martinez and Ben Speas were all around the ball they were awarded after a Coastal Carolina handball and prepared for the direct kick. But there was some miscommunication among the trio.
Senior captain Urso started, then stopped at Martinez' request. That move momentarily disassembled Chanticleer defenders who had created a wall in front of the three Tar Heels. As Urso was about to begin again, Martinez struck the game winner from just outside the box that went between the wall's gap and past Coastal goalkeeper Scott Angevine.
"I don't know what happened but it just felt right," Martinez said. "I just hit it and luckily it went in. The three of us were laughing because it wasn't what we planned, but we planned to score."
The 3-2 victory for the No. 1-seeded Tar Heels (18-2-2) lifted them to a third-round match against Indiana on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Fetzer Field. The loss ended Coastal Carolina's season at 18-4-0.
The Chanticleers got on the board first with the help of Ashton Bennett, the nation's leading goal scorer The goal was Bennett's 23rd of the season.
Asked how he prepared for Bennett's offensive game, UNC head coach Carlos Somoano replied: "I went to church last week."
Coastal and UNC entered the match with the first and third-best scoring offenses in men's soccer, respectively. And for two minutes and three seconds in the second half, the Tar Heels and Chanticleers showed it.
In the 50th minute, Scott Goodwin's goal kick went to Speas, who quickly started upfield. Speas outran nearly every Chanticleer defender and then beat a sliding Angevine to get UNC's first goal.
Coastal countered in the 52nd minute when TeeJay East scored his eighth goal of the season on a through-ball from right in front of Goodwin. But not 40 seconds later, Urso delivered the game-tying goal when he rebounded a deflection and bent a shot over the head of Angevine, who was so fooled by the shot that he didn't even attempt a save.
Coastal had racked up 262 fouls in the 21 games leading up to Sunday, which was 90 more than North Carolina in the same number of games. By the end of regulation, the teams had combined for 41 fouls and seven yellow cards, a statistic that made Speas smack his forehead after the game.
"Teams are going to try to do that," he said. "We're going to see a bunch of stuff thrown at us. It's just a matter of how we respond and deal with it"