North Carolina

Heels advance in ACC

The score looked the same, but this game had a different feel.

North Carolina beat Miami 1-0 in the first round of the ACC women's soccer tournament at WakeMed Soccer Park on Wednesday.

The Tar Heels had beaten the Hurricanes by the same score in Sunday's regular-season finale.

UNC coach Anson Dorrance said he felt better about this win. In Sunday's game, the Heels didn't score until the 84th minute, when junior Casey Nogueira took the team's 29th shot of the game.

On Wednesday, "the corrections at the half were very thin," Dorrance said. "I really thought that a lot of the problems we had against them on Sunday we corrected in the first half."

Junior Tobin Heath scored her eighth goal of the season on an assist from sophomore Meghan Klingenberg in the 66th minute.

Said Klingenberg: "I knew this was a great chance because she was wide open. I put it on her path, and I knew once Tobin would get it, she would put it on frame and make something happen. And she did."

"The whole defense had shifted," Heath added.

The Heels (17-1-2) controlled the ball for the majority of the game and outshot their opponents 22-8. But Miami (10-8-3) didn't make it easy.

The Hurricanes' freshman goalkeeper, Vikki Alonzo, had 11 shutouts this year.

"This is a very tough team to beat," Dorrance said. "It's very tough to get uncontested shots. And even if that shot is a good one, [Alonzo is] not just going to snuff it, she's going to actually catch it."

Nogueira, a former star at Broughton High, said there was a different strategy this time.

"Last game, we were taking way too many touches in and playing the ball way too slowly," she said. "At the end, we were lucky to get one off, get a goal after a lot of shots. ... The only way to get around them is to play it quickly and not take too many touches or they double-team you. And we did that."

Miami took possession of the ball for a few stretches in the second period, but coach Tricia Taliaferro said her team never had any great opportunities. Miami had just three shots on goal, all of which came in the second half.

"There were periods where you could feel like there was a chance," Taliaferro said.

Though the chances never really came, Dorrance was still anxious.

"We've seen how these games unfold when the margin is so close," he said. "I might seem a little bit more relaxed, but if you took my blood pressure with about five minutes to go in the second half, I think my wife would ask me for an early retirement."

Dorrance said he had pity for any team that faces the Hurricanes in the NCAA Tournament.

"When any of these teams play against Miami in the first round, they're going to struggle against them," the coach said.

He said he had hoped to rest some of his players' legs and referred to the tournament as a three-game campaign.

"Miami just didn't let us do that," he said.

UNC will play Boston College on Friday at 5 p.m.