CHAPEL HILL — In a classic NCAA womens soccer rivalry that North Carolina has mostly dominated, there was familiarity to Notre Dames 4-1 win in the third round of the NCAA Tournament Saturday.
While the Heels had prevailed in three of the previous four consecutive postseason meetings, the Irish did win a third round match at Fetzer Field in 2007.
Theres where the likeness ended. The Heels havent allowed that many goals since 1980.
Theres a reason we play them every year, Heels senior Meghan Klingenberg said. Theyre good. I wish we could have played them further down the line.
North Carolina coach Anson Dorrance said he was very proud of another feat that ended. His team hadnt lost by more than a single goal since 1985.
For them to score four goals against us is a tremendous achievement, Dorrance said.
North Carolina holds a 12-5-2 record in the all-time series but Notre Dame never trailed Saturday, making it extra hard for a young Heels team trying to live up to the legacy of the most successful program in NCAA history.
The Irish got on the board first when a goalkeeper miscue by North Carolina sophomore Hannah Daly led to an empty net goal from senior Rose Augustin at 12:49.
I was in the right place at the right time, Augustin said. I just saw the ball.
Heels freshman Crystal Dunn responded on a hard shot to the lower right corner of the net at 18:15, rousing the crowd of 1,522.
The Irish took the lead back on a corner kick. The ball from Notre Dame junior defenseman Jessica Schuveiller found its way into the net at 32:13.
Shortly after halftime, Notre Dame junior forward Melissa Henderson headed in her 17th goal of the season at 48:27 on a long ball into the box for a 3-1 lead.
You get that two-goal lead again and then you know [they] have a big fight to get back, Notre Dame coach Randy Waldrum said.
Still, there was time left, and North Carolina was dangerous, if unsuccessful.
With just over 29 minutes left, Heels freshman forward Kealia Ohai fired from inside the box, but Irish senior keeper Nikki Weiss made the save. Seconds later, Dunn had a good look at the net, but sent her shot high.
There were other Tar Heel chances, such as in the 69th minute, when three close shots were fired at Weiss in a seven-second span. She saved two saved and the other was blocked.
We couldnt seem to push one by, Dorrance said.
The Irish added their fourth goal at 76:42 when Henderson outraced the Heels back line on a long pass along the left wing, then sent it up to junior Ellen Jantsch at center.
I hope they have as amazing an experience as I did in four years, a choked up Klingenberg said of the Heels youth.
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