This had been a strange NCAA tournament for the men's soccer team. They were the first team to ever advance to the semifinals without actually winning a game; all three of their matches ended in shootouts. The Tar Heels never scored more than one goal in a any game, and were actually held scoreless in their opening game against Georgetown. UNC last scored more than a single goal in the opening round of the ACC tournament, a 4-0 win over N.C. State.
That defense-heavy style of play held during their game against top-seeded Louisville, as they held the Cardinals scoreless through 58 minutes, despite heavy offensive pressure. When a shot did finally get through, Carolina quickly responded, scoring on a Stephen McCarthy header off an Alex Dixon pass; after tying up the score UNC became much more aggressive on offensive end, but find the back of the net again. Taking a 1-1 tie into an extra period would have been old hat for this team at this point, but with 51 seconds remaining, Louisville's Ryan Smith intercepted a pass and found Aaron Horton for the winning goal.
The Cardinals will face Akron in the championship game; UNC finishes 16-4-4. The team will lose five seniors, including defenders Jalil Anibaba and Eddie Ababio, and midfielder Michael Farfan, all who were first all-region team in this year's tournament. They'll definitely be less of a defensive force next season, but should have more offensive experience to counter that.