CHAPEL HILL — North Carolina had to wait longer than expected to start its ACC mens soccer season, but senior forward Martin Murphy eventually got them off to a fast start.
The start of Saturday nights ACC opener was delayed for 90 minutes by a thunderstorm that rolled through the area. However, Murphy struck for two goals in less than a two-minute span of the first half and led the No. 1-ranked Tar Heels to a 2-0 victory over Virginia Tech at rain-soaked Fetzer Field.
With the victory, UNC (4-0, 1-0 ACC) avenged one of its two losses from a year ago, as the Hokies defeated the eventual ACC and NCAA champions at Blacksburg, Va., in double overtime 1-0 in 2011.
Virginia Tech (3-2, 0-1) also saw its three-game winning streak end as the Tar Heels extended their home unbeaten streak to 30 matches, dating to a season-opening 3-0 loss to Akron on Sept. 3, 2010. Only four other NCAA schools have similar or longer streaks all-time: Akron (48), Tulsa (39), Indiana (38, 36, 30 twice) and UCLA (30).
Murphy, UNCs scoring leader this season, helped assure the outcome with his early offense.
UNC junior forward Andy Craven worked a give-and-go with sophomore defender Jordan McCrary on the left side, and McCrary chipped a short pass over the Virginia Tech defense. Murphy was able to loft a short diagonal shot from the left side of the penalty area over Hokies goalkeeper Kyle Renfros fingertips and into the right side of the net at 13:07.
Less than two minutes later, Murphy struck again. A Virginia Tech foul gave the Tar Heels a free kick in the attacking third, and freshman midfielder Danny Garcia tapped the ball sideways to Murphy. He unleashed a rocket from 28 yards that found the upper left corner and gave UNC a 2-0 lead at 14:59.
Virginia Tech, with only one senior and six juniors on the roster, saw its best threat in the 33rd minute when sophomore midfielder Ben Strong crossed a ball from the right corner into the penalty area. Junior midfielder Jed Praters shot through a crowd from 12 yards went just wide of the left post, where junior forward David Clemens couldnt redirect it.
Hokies midfielder David Fiorellos header in the final minute of the half forced Scott Goodwin to make his only save, as UNC outshot Virginia Tech 5-4 in the half and 13-5 for the game. Goodwin, a senior from Raleighs Broughton High, recorded his third shutout of the season. He has allowed only one goal in four matches, with central defenders Jonathan Campbell and Boyd Okwuonu anchoring the penalty area for him.
Renfro was credited with two saves for the Hokies.