CHAPEL HILL — Cameron Brown was unselfish to a fault, which is not always a good thing on the soccer field. But after passing up a great scoring opportunity in regulation, he showed a nose for the goal in overtime.
Brown took a cross from Rob Lovejoy and finished from 5 yards to send ninth-seeded North Carolina to a 1-0 overtime victory against Fairleigh Dickinson on Sunday night at Fetzer Field in the third round of the NCAA men’s soccer championship.
The win means the Tar Heels (16-3-3) will host 16th seed Indiana, which upset the tournament’s top seed, Notre Dame 2-1 in overtime. They will play a 6 p.m. Friday quarterfinal in the third postseason meeting in four years for the Hoosiers and Tar Heels, who are bidding to become the first back-to-back NCAA champions since Indiana did it in 2003-04.
UNC won last year’s meeting in the third round 1-0 in overtime.
The Tar Heels outshot the Knights 11-6 – 6-2 after halftime – and dominated the second half. Scott Goodwin had to make only one save en route to his 17th shutout of the season as he lowered his nation-leading goals-against average to 0.26. UNC also extended its unbeaten home mark to 40 games, second-best all-time among NCAA teams.
Brown’s goal 1 minute, 30 seconds into overtime came after Lovejoy drove the left flank, beat his defender and crossed the ball into a crowded goalmouth. Jacob Lissek, the goalkeeper for Fairleigh Dickinson (11-7-6), had no chance on Brown’s one-touch effort.
“It was just a good build-up play on the left side,” Brown said. “Marty (Murphy) got it out to Robby early. Rob, just by individual talent and will, got to the end line. We had worked all week in practice, trying to crash the goal and get something.”
“Give them credit, they came out in the overtime and put us under pressure,” Knights coach Seth Roland said. “Soccer is a game of moments, and you have to take advantage of your moments.”
It was probably fitting that Brown’s third goal of the season, and his second game-winner, didn’t come easily. He has been in the UNC program for six years but sat out the past two seasons with a knee injury. He came off the bench Sunday to log 44 minutes and take three shots.