Maya Worth picked a great time to get her first career goal.
The midfielder from Green Hope High in Cary scored on her own rebound off a free kick with 5 minutes, 20 seconds remaining in overtime, lifting No. 2 seed North Carolina to a 1-0 victory over Colorado in the second round of the NCAA women’s soccer tournament on Friday night.
UNC (14-3-2) will play No. 3 seed South Carolina (13-5-5) at 1 p.m. Sunday in a third-round match. South Carolina advanced past Seattle 2-1 on penalty kicks after the teams were tied 0-0 after double overtime.
Worth’s goal came on a free kick taken by Danae O’Halloran from 35 yards. Worth got her head on the service, but a Colorado defender blocked the shot. The ball came right back to Worth, who buried it in the roof of the net at the 94:40 mark.
Freshman goalkeeper Abbey Crider, from Pinecrest High in Pinehurst, made three saves in regulation and the overtimes, then stopped two penalty kicks in the shootout for South Carolina. She was making her first career start as she filled in for Sabrina D’Angelo, who was limited by an arm injury in practice this week.
It was the second straight shootout for the Gamecocks, who similarly dispatched Clemson in the first round on penalty kicks.
UNC has never failed to reach at least the third round of the NCAA tournament and has played in all 33 NCAA tournaments, winning 21 titles.
Colorado (14-7-1) saw its four-game winning streak end and fell to 0-4 against UNC.
Colorado was making its eighth NCAA appearance (7-8-1 all-time), and its best finishes were the round of 16 in 2006 and last year, when it lost to Florida State.
Colorado assumed a defensive posture for most of the night. The Buffaloes positioned 10 players in and around the penalty area, with only diminutive forward Brie Hooks up front looking for long balls and counters. The strategy worked, because although UNC had an advantage in territory and possession, the Tar Heels were unable to crack the Buffaloes’ defensive shell.
The numbers reflected that domination. The Tar Heels outshot the Buffaloes 20-2 in regulation but had nothing to show for it on the scoreboard. Kate Scheele made six saves for Colorado, and her defense blocked twice as many shots. Bryane Heaberlin had one save for UNC before giving way to Lindsey Harris for the second half. Harris recorded one save in the second half.
The Tar Heels’ most serious scoring threat came in the 56th minute, when sophomore forward Amber Munerlyn drove inside the penalty area and unleashed a shot from 16 yards that Scheele leaped to deflect over the crossbar.
UNC’s Summer Green also had a good look at the net in the 78th minute, but her curving shot from the top of the penalty area was just wide left.
Green then set up Paige Nielsen on a cross, but Nielsen’s side volley sailed wide to the right in the 85th minute.