CHAPEL HILL — North Carolina looked like a tired team Sunday in the opening round of the ACC womens soccer championship. As a result, the eighth-ranked Tar Heels will have two weeks to rest up before they play in the NCAA tournament.
For the second year in a row, UNC was ousted in the ACC quarterfinals, falling to Virginia 1-0 on a raw, windy day at Fetzer Field. How unusual is that? The Tar Heels (10-5-2) had gone 62 consecutive ACC tournament matches without a loss since the tournaments inception in 1988 before falling to Florida State last year.
Virginia (14-4-1), ranked 10th nationally but seeded fifth, advanced to a 5:30 p.m. semifinal game Friday at Carys WakeMed Soccer Park against No. 1 seed Florida State, a 4-0 winner against Boston College. Third-seeded Wake Forest, a 1-0 overtime winner against Duke, will take on second-seeded Maryland, a 2-1 overtime victor against Miami, in the 7:30 p.m. semifinal. The winners will meet at 1 p.m. Sunday for the title and an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament.
Senior forward Caroline Miller scored her 14th goal of the season and 11th against ACC opponents at 10:01 of the match on a perfectly played through-ball by midfielder Morgan Brian.
It was like déjà vu, the exact same goal as last time we were here, said Miller, who scored the golden goal in Virginias 1-0 overtime win at Fetzer Field last season when the Cavaliers beat UNC for the first time in a series that now stands 35-2-3. She also had both goals in a 2-2 tie this season against the Tar Heels. It was a great through-ball from Morgan, and I was able to get around the keeper and put it in.
UNC goalkeeper Adelaide Gay, who made three saves, said she read the play but couldnt come off her line fast enough to get to the ball.
We got a little bit spread apart defensively, she said. They played it through and I was ready for it, but it was a perfect ball. (Brian) played a perfect touch.
Obviously any time you play Carolina, youve got to solve their pressure, Virginia coach Steve Swanson said. I thought we did a good job of that throughout the course of the game. They squeeze the field, and if you can get out of those pockets of pressure you can find some open space. The goal was certainly a result of that.
Virginia goalkeeper Danielle DeLisle recorded her sixth shutout of the season and didnt have to make a save. The Cavaliers outshot the Tar Heels 11-4, holding UNC to its lowest total in program history. Senior midfielder Amber Brooks took UNCs final three shots of the day in a 53-second flurry off a free kick 15 minutes into the second half. After that, the Cavaliers successfully kept the Tar Heels at bay.
When you can hold Carolina to just four shots, that is a credit to how well we played defensively, Swanson said.
UNC coach Anson Dorrance agreed that his team lacked energy, especially early. We did come out flat, he said. The amount of energy we expended to beat N.C. State (4-1 Thursday) may have been a factor. But Virginia invested a lot (Thursday) against Boston College to win by their (5-1) margin. So we cant use that as an excuse.
Wake Forest 1, Duke 0 (OT): Marisa Park scored 52 seconds into overtime to send the host Deacons (13-4-3) past the Blue Devils (12-5-2) and into the ACC tournament quarterfinals. Parks winning goal at 90:52 was the fastest overtime goal for Wake Forest in school history.