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Legendary run through NCAA Tournament ends for Drake with 2-1 loss at North Carolina

December 4, 2009
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Garrett Webb

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- A 2-1 victory for the North Carolina Tar Heels ended the NCAA Tournament for the Drake men's soccer team Dec. 4 as Drake faced the No. 4 ranked Tar Heels for an Elite Eight matchup in the quarterfinals at historic Fetzer Field.    

Read more about the game online on the Drake Web site and at http://www.ncaasports.com/.  

The Tar Heels broke open a scoreless tilt at halftime with goals in the 55th (54:47) and 58th minutes (57:01), from Kirk Urso and Alex Dixon, respectively, to clinch a berth in the College Cup. 
Drake Junior Kenan Malicevic (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Cedar Valley) scored his sixth goal of the year on a shot from 18 yards out to the lower left net with 41 seconds remaining in the contest when the outcome had been decided. Earning the assist on the play was junior Evan Harrison (Evansville, Ind./Reitz Memorial).
"That was clearly the best team we've played all year and I thought at the end of our 25-game journey that we perhaps were a little bit gassed out," Drake head coach Sean Holmes commented. "To constantly go on the road is challenging and I don't want the one painful 90 minutes to undo the work that the guys have done all season."
The Tar Heels will advance to the College Cup in Cary, N.C. and will face the Akron/Tulsa showdown champion on Dec. 11. 
Drake's game vs. North Carolina marks the third overall meeting between the Bulldogs and a school from the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Drake advanced to the Elite Eight with a come-from-behind 6-4 victory against Boston College Nov. 29. Senior Luke Gorczyca (Overland Park, Kan./St. Thomas Aquinas) scored the game-winning goal in the 69th minute (68:52).  

Read an account of the Nov. 29 game online and view features about the team on KCCI-TV and WOI-TV.    

The Kansas City Star recently published a story about the Drake team's six starters from five Kansas City-area high schools. Read "KC pipeline fuels Drake soccer success" online.  

Both North Carolina and Drake played two common opponents this season -- Evansville and Boston College. The Tar Heels defeated the Purple Aces, 4-0, on Sept. 6, before falling 2-1 to the Eagles on Oct. 17. In addition to defeating Boston College last week, Drake earned 1-0 and 2-1 victories over the Purple Aces on Oct. 10 and Nov. 15, respectively, while falling 1-0 at Evansville on Oct. 23.

  

Drake made its second consecutive NCAA Tournament after qualifying for the event for the first time in school history a season ago. The Bulldogs are 3-1 all-time following their 6-4 victory at Boston College. A year ago, Drake nearly pulled the upset at St. Louis as a goal with four seconds left in double overtime earned the Billikens a 1-0 triumph.  

In his 12th season on the Drake sidelines as head coach, Sean Holmes owns a 103-101-24 mark (.504), including 181-127-26 (.581), overall in his 17th year as a head coach. He was named head coach in 1998 after serving as top assistant coach at Evansville.  

Under Holmes, the Bulldogs have posted an 103-101-24 record and have built a legacy of excellence on Drake's campus and in the Missouri Valley Conference. He led the Bulldogs to a school-record 13-5-1 mark in 2008, including six-consecutive shutouts to open the season while Drake finished second in the MVC and made its first-ever NCAA tournament appearance.  

North Carolina (15-2-3), led by head coach Elmar Bolowich in his 21st campaign, is coming into play off a 1-0 home triumph over Indiana on Nov. 29. Sophomore Billy Schuler paces the Tar Heels in goals (9), scoring (22), shots (53), shots on goal (30) and game-winners (7), while ranking second in assists (4). Senior Brooks Haggerty directs North Carolina in net, having posted 44 saves and owning a 0.57 goals against average.

  

Bolowich led the Tar Heels and maintains a 263-140-23 record (.644).