Most of North Carolina’s fall non-revenue sports are still playing, which means deep playoff runs and hopes of a championship are still alive for many. The women’s soccer team earned a trip to the Final Four for the first time since 2012, while the men are a win away from doing the same. The volleyball team will start NCAA tournament play on Friday with its sights set on the program’s first ever Final Four.
Women’s soccer: For the first time since 2012 and the second time since 2009, the North Carolina women’s soccer team (17-3-4) is heading to the Final Four. The Tar Heels beat South Carolina 1-0 on Friday, sealed by freshman forward Madison Schultz’s fifth game-winning goal in the past eight games.
Redshirt senior goalkeeper Lindsey Harris, who is one of two Tar Heels still on the roster from their last trip to the national title game, notched eight saves in the match to set a new UNC single-season record. The record-tying save came off a penalty kick where she stretched out to deflect the ball. She added two more to give her 91 saves on the season with at least one more game to go.
The Tar Heels will face West Virginia at 5 p.m. on Friday in the Final Four in San Jose, Calif. The winner of that game will play the winner of the Georgetown- USC match for the national championship at 6 p.m. on Sunday.
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UNC has advanced to the NCAA tournament semifinals 27 times in 35 appearances.
Men’s soccer: The past few seasons have been marked by untimely and unexpected exits from the postseason for the North Carolina men’s soccer team (13-3-3). Boston College upset UNC 1-0 in the ACC tournament quarterfinal on Nov. 6. Last season, Syracuse beat the Tar Heels in the ACC quarterfinals in penalty kicks, then Creighton knocked UNC out in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
There was no such exit on Sunday, as the Tar Heels beat Syracuse 1-0 on the road in the snow in the second round of the NCAA tournament. Freshman Jeremy Keeley scored the lone goal of the game. The two teams played to a draw earlier in the season. But UNC was able to sneak one past Orange goalkeeper Henrik Hilpert, and the Tar Heel defense and keeper James Pyle held firm on the other end. The Tar Heels will host Providence on Friday night at 7 p.m. at Fetzer Field for a spot in the Final Four.
Women’s basketball: Sophomore Stephanie Watts set an ACC record with 10 made three-pointers in a 93-77 win over Charleston Southern on Nov. 22. Watts finished the game with a career-high 39 points. She went 1-10 from deep and scored 13 points in UNC’s 83-55 loss to South Florida on Thursday in the opening game of the Junkanoo Jam in the Bahamas. Redshirt sophomore guard Paris Kea led the team with 20 points.
The Tar Heels (5-1) scored 34 points in the fourth quarter of a 91-77 come-from-behind win over Minnesota in the tournament consolation game on Friday. Kea had 32 points.
Volleyball: The sixth-ranked North Carolina volleyball team (27-3, 19-1 ACC) won its 13th ACC championship and a spot in the NCAA tournament with a 3-1 win against Duke on Wednesday. After dropping the opening set, UNC rattled off three straight wins to sweep the season series against the Blue Devils.
UNC finished off the regular season with a 3-0 sweep of Wake Forest on Sunday. The Tar Heels, seeded No. 7 in the NCAA tournament, will play High Point in the first round on Friday. If they win, they’ll play the winner of the James Madison and Coastal Carolina match on Saturday.