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Top-seeded North Carolina defeated Charlotte 1-0 to win the NCAA College Cup championship game on Sunday, December 11. Ben Speas scored from 25 yards out in the 64th minute, then the Tar Heels withstood a flurry of 49er shots in the game’s final minutes.

The win improved Carolina to 22-2-2 on the year.

Carolina earned a spot in the title game by beating semifinal opponent UCLA 3-1 on penalty kicks. Speas hit Carolina’s third PK in four tries after UNC goalkeeper Scott Goodwin stopped UCLA’s first, second and fourth tries.The end of regulation saw the game tied 2-2. UNC tied the game when Billy Schuler followed Enzo Martinez’s long shot with five minutes left in the game. Kelyn Rowe’s goal on a give-and-go go at 16:11 put the Bruins up 2-1. UCLA led 1-0 at halftime on a Ryan Hollingshead goal. Carolina struck back early in the second half, with Rob Lovejoy heading a cross from junior Ben Speas to tie the score.

Charlotte beat Creighton 4-1 on penalty kicks in the first semifinal game.

The NCAA College Cup appearance is the fourth straight for the Tar Heels and sixth overall in school history as the 1987 and 2001 teams also reached the final four.

The NCAA College Cup was hosted by the University of Alabama-Birmingham in Hoover, Alabama.

Read more about men’s soccer.

Published December 11, 2011.