North Carolina Blanks Maryland, 3-0
Nov. 5, 2009
CARY, N.C. - North Carolina played the unfamiliar role of No. 3 seed as the 2009 ACC Championship concluded quarterfinal play Wednesday night at WakeMed Soccer Park. Other than that, the Tar Heels followed a familiar script.
UNC scored a goal in first half and added two in the second to blank sixth-seeded Maryland, 3-0, and advanced to Friday's 7:30 p.m. semifinal match against second-seeded Boston College. The win upped the NCAA defending and four-time defending ACC champion Tar Heels' all-time record in ACC Championship play to 55-0-3. The nationally fifth-ranked Tar Heels have won 19 of the previous 21 ACC Championships.
"It's tough to beat a team twice, and we just played them (a 1-0 UNC win last Sunday)," noted North Carolina head coach Anson Dorrance. "To come in and win by a shutout and to score a couple of goals ... I'm very excited."
Maryland (12-5-2) entered the match ranked 16th nationally and will now await the announcement of NCAA Tournament pairings on Monday.
"I don't think we leave here tonight feeling dejected," Maryland coach Brian Pensky said. "I think we leave here feeling disappointed and feeling like we could have been better. We just told our players that we won't play against any other fasted or more connected pressure than that group (North Carolina). We just have to get used to playing quicker under that kind of pressure."
The Tar Heels (15-3-1) got on the board 14:09 into the match, as three-time All-ACC midfielder Tobin Heath took a pass from forward Casey Nogueira and lined a ground ball to the right side that eluded Maryland goalkeeper Mary Casey. The score was the fourth of the season for Heath, who missed six full matches due to her participation in international play.
"The first goal, they broke us down with Casey Nogueira running down our back line, switching it to Tobin Heath," Pensky said. "Those are two of the best players in the country."
North Carolina pushed its lead to 2-0 in the 11th minute of the second half as a shot by Maria Lubrano hit the post and was knocked into goal by a Maryland player during the ensuing scramble.
"I thought Maria did a good job of beating the keeper and getting a good shot, even though it didn't go into the goal," Dorrance said. "She kept it low and she kept it on the frame, and when you keep it low and keep it on the frame, good things happen. We've preached that to these kids all year, and the ball took a positive bounce."
Lucy Bronze scored late in the match off passes from Heath and Jessica McDonald for the final 3-0 margin and end the late night for North Carolina, which joined the Terrapins in watching two of Wednesday's three previous quarterfinal matches go into overtime before taking the field.
"We tried to do some things throughout the day," Dorrance said. "We tried to keep the girls awake, and then we tried to have some substitution patterns that rested them a bit more. And toward the end, as I'm sure you could see, we were trying to rest our starters a little bit. We have all kinds of strategies based on what time we're playing and what's going on, and we certainly made those adjustments coming into tonight's game."