#6 North Carolina Men's Soccer 2014 Preview

North Carolina Tar Heels

Overall Rank: #6
#3 ACC
#6 North Carolina Men's Soccer 2014 Preview
North Carolina Team Page


An inefficient offense led to a disappointing 2013 campaign for North Carolina. With an overall record of 9-6-5, the Tar Heels were a far cry from their 2011 national championship. But UNC still made it to the NCAA Tournament thanks to their strength of schedule. After beating South Florida 1-0 in the first round, North Carolina’s season ended at the hands of UC Irvine.

2013 Record: 9-6-5, 4-2-5
2013 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Carlos Somoano

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Tyler Engel, Senior, F, 6
Assists: Cooper Vandermaas-Peeler, Senior, F, 4
Shots: Omar Holness, Sophomore, M, 40
Saves: Brendan Moore, Senior, GK, 54

Other Key Returnees: M Raby George, M Verneri Valimaa, M Alex Olofson, M/D Jordan McCrary, M/D Colton Storm, D Nick Williams, D Jonathan Campbell, D Boyd Okwuonu

Key Losses: F Josh Rice

There may not be a better defense in the country than this one. The Tar Heels boast arguably the best defender in the country in senior Boyd Okwuonu. They also return the other three starters with Jordan McCrary and Jonathan Campbell, who would both garner more attention if it was not for Okwuonu. C.J. Odenigwe is a very good defender if he can stay healthy. In 2011 he missed the entire year, in 2012 he played in just one game and in 2013 he played in three games at the end of the year. At the least he will provide some depth. With promising sophomores Colton Storm and Nick Williams in the mix, there is plenty of depth for Coach Carlos Somoano to work with. Keeper Brendan Moore had a superb season between the pipes. In half of North Carolina’s 20 games, Moore recorded a shutout. He also led the ACC in goals against average and save percentage. Allowing 13 goals in 20 games is impressive, but Moore was not tested all that often. He should not be in 2014 either.

Defense does not always win championships. The Tar Heels offense was stagnant much of the year. After the first games of the year, North Carolina scored more than one goal just once and they averaged less than one goal per game on the year. The good news is everybody is back. Senior Tyler Engel led the team with goals and Cooper Vandermaas-Peeler added three goals and four assists. But the better news is Andy Craven and Rob Lovejoy should both return after missing last season with injuries. Craven started his collegiate career at Charleston, but he led the Tar Heels in points, with six goals and five assists, during his debut campaign with UNC in 2012. The speedy Lovejoy made an impact late in 2010 and scored seven goals and added five assists in 2011. Lovejoy played in just 12 games in 2012 prior to missing the entire 2013 season. He is a superb talent and has plenty of experience, so expect him to pick up where he left off.

Final Projection:
This team will stay in every game as they did last year. They never lost by more than one goal. The issue will be if the team can score enough to be the best of the best in the ACC. It really cannot be much worse offensively than last year so this team is going to be better, but the return of Craven and Lovejoy could turn this is into a great team. The inability to stay healthy hurt this team in 2013 and that may be their biggest issue in 2014.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Tournament

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 0.95 (157th in nation, 11th in conference)
Goals-Against Average: 0.61 (6, 1)
Shutout Percentage: 0.50 (11, 1)
Save Percentage:  0.806 (39, 4)

Madness 2015 MLS Draft Rankings:
#10 Omar Holness
#11 Jordan McCrary
#29 Boyd Okwuonu

Madness 2014 Men’s Soccer Recruit Rankings:
#81 Evan Krause


See All College Sports Madness Top 44 Men's Soccer Previews