BEN SPEAS lofted a 25-yard shot over goalkeeper Klay Davis midway through the second half to give North Carolina a 1-0 victory over Charlotte in the NCAA championship in Hoover, Ala.
The Tar Heels (22-2-2) earned their first men's soccer title in 10 years. They lost in the semifinals each of the previous two seasons and fell in final in 2008.
Speas, who had an assist in North Carolina's semifinal victory over UCLA, worked the ball toward the middle of the field just outside the Charlotte box and hit a left-footer that barely cleared the outstretched arm of Davis.
"I went to my right and was going to take a shot, but I got cut off so I went back to my left and hit it with my left foot," Speas said. "It dipped over the keeper and luckily went in."
The unseeded 49ers (17-5-3) outshot North Carolina by a 14-3 margin in the second half, including a flurry of four shots in 41 seconds with less than 5 minutes left in regulation.
"The simple fact is they scored a fantastic goal and we did everything but," Charlotte coach Jeremy Gunn said. "It was incredible what we were doing the last five minutes. There were so many great attempts. We gave them everything that we had. It just wasn't quite meant to be."
UNC goalkeeper Scott Goodwin made two saves during the late flurry, one shot hit the crossbar and another went just wide of the net.
The 49ers had three other shots in the final minutes that were deflected before they reached the goal, including a key save by Jordan Gafa on a shot that Goodwin couldn't reach.
It appeared that the 49ers might receive a penalty kick early in the second half when Donnie Smith went to the ground while trying to drive toward the goal against Kirk Urso, but no foul was called.
"In my own humble opinion that was a penalty," Gunn said. "Those decisions even out through the season. But there's a good chance when we watch it on the DVD that a cup of tea might go flying across the room."
Winter Sports *
World champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White, of the United States, won the ice dance at the ISU Grand Prix Final in Quebec City.
* Canada's Charles Hamelin won the 500 meters at the World Cup short-track speedskating event in Shanghai. Kwak Yoon-gy, of South Korea, won the 1,000. Arianna Fontana, of Italy, won the women's 500 and American Katherine Reutter took the 1,000.
* Kikkan Randall, of the United States, won her second straight freestyle sprint in cross-country skiing's World Cup in Davos, Switzerland. Russia's Alexey Petukhov won the men's race.
* Germany's Richard Freitag, 20, won a World Cup ski-jumping event in Harrachov, Czech Republic, for his first career victory.
Philly File *
The Wings dropped their National Lacrosse League exhibition opener to the Rochester Nighthawks, 11-8, in Trenton.