Ben Speas scored a marvelous goal midway through the second half Sunday, leading top-seeded North Carolina to a 1-0 victory over Charlotte in the NCAA College Cup final in Hoover, Ala.
Speas, a junior midfielder who won a national title as a reserve with Akron last year, used clever footwork to create space beyond the box before striking a 25-yard, left-footed shot in the 65th minute that streaked over leaping goalkeeper Klay Smith and dipped into the net for his seventh goal of the year.
The Tar Heels (21-2-3) won their second national title and became the sixth ACC team in 11 years to claim the championship. Unseeded Charlotte (16-5-4) had several quality chances, most notably late efforts that were cleared off the line and hit the crossbar. The 49ers probably deserved a a penalty early in the second half when Donnie Smith was taken down surging into the box.