Tar Heels Top Duke, 2-0, To Advance To Semifinals
Nov. 2, 2006
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - A pair of goals late in the second half lifted No. 6 seed North Carolina over No. 3 seed Duke in the second contest of the 2006 ACC Field Hockey Tournament at the Francis E. Henry Stadium in Chapel Hill, N.C. The battle was tough for both teams, with the passing of Duke assistant coach Maria Whitehead on Wednesday night after a courageous battle with cancer.
"I'm proud of the Carolina team," UNC head coach Karen Shelton said. "It was a hard-fought battle for both teams. There was a lot of emotion on the field and any team could have won today. I'm pleased with the victory, and understand how difficult it was for both teams."
The first half proved to be a back-and-forth affair between the longtime rivals. North Carolina out shot the Blue Devils 6-1 before the break, but the Duke defense held its ground. UNC had an opportunity to score in the 23rd minute when Duke goal-keeper Caitlyn Williams came out of the net to make a save and left the net open. The ball bounced off her pads, but senior forward Cara-Lynn Lopresti quickly stepped in to make the big defensive save for Duke.
The Blue Devils got their first solid look at the Tar Heel net five minutes later when Amy Stopford sent a straight shot at UNC goalkeeper Brianna O'Donnell, who swatted it away for the save. Both team headed into the break scoreless.
UNC came out strong in the second half, as Alli Tanner and Brooke Miller each took a shot in the first 10 minutes but couldn't find the inside net. Duke also missed scoring chances of its own, including the shot by Marian Dickinson that rebounded off Tar Heel goalie O'Donnell and rolled back towards the net. Two UNC defenders were there to make the quick and key defensive save.
With the clock ticking away under seven minutes and the possibility of overtime looming, UNC's Jesse Gey netted a shot high up in the right corner but the goal was called back. The Tar Heels would not be discouraged as midfielder Alli Tanner took a pass from Brooke Miller and put UNC up for a 1-0 advantage less than a minute later.
Duke would draw a penalty a few minutes later on a shot that hit off the foot of senior Hilary Linton, giving UNC a penalty stroke. Miller then sailed a shot into the left corner of the net, extending UNC's lead 2-0 with two minutes left, sealing the victory.
Goalie Brianna O'Donnell picked up her 13th win of the season and eighth shutout of the year for the Tar Heels, while Caitlin Williams took the loss for Duke.
"It hasn't been a great week for us," Duke head coach Beth Bozman said. "I'm sure everyone has heard about Maria (Whitehead, Duke's assistant coach). She would have wanted us to not play for her, but for everything she's meant. I think we did. We left our hearts on the field."
The Tar Heels now advances to Friday's semifinal game against No. 2 Wake Forest. The two teams met during the regular season with Wake Forest edging UNC 4-3 in overtime. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.
A web cast replay of this match is available online through ACC Select at www.TheACC.com.