Tar Heels Lead US to Best-Ever Finish
Tar Heel forward Laree Beans scored a goal Sunday, Sept. 25, as the U.S. beat South Africa 4-2 to claim seventh place at the Junior World Cup in Santiago, Chile. The finish was the best ever for the Americans, who entered the event seeded ninth. The highest previous U.S. finish was 10th in 1989.
Beans and Rachel Dawson, both Carolina juniors, missed two weeks at UNC while competing in the international event. In the starting lineup for the first six games of the season, they departed from Philadelphia following the Sept. 11 win over Monmouth.
During their absence, the Tar Heels (8-1, 0-1 ACC) won games against No. 9 Old Dominion and Radford and suffered their first loss of the season, 2-1 to No. 5 Duke. Beans and Dawson will be back in the lineup for the team's next action, a matchup with No. 1 Wake Forest on Saturday in Winston-Salem.
The U.S. team opened play in Chile Sept. 14 with a 4-2 win over England that included two goals by Dawson. Next, the squad played to a surprising 2-2 tie with The Netherlands, the top-seeded team in the tournament, before earning victories against Zimbabwe, 14-0, and host Chile, 3-1. The U.S. then lost 1-0 to Australia, which scored in the final minute of play. Needing a win against Spain to earn a spot in the tournament semifinals, the U.S. scored two late goals for a 4-4 draw, which put the team in the fifth-eight-place bracket. The team lost 2-0 to Argentina to set up Sunday's meeting with South Africa.
"The whole staff is just really proud of the way these kids have carried themselves the entire tournament," U.S. coach Tracey Fuchs said. "Finishing seventh in the world is pretty good stuff. We can always strive for a higher place, but right now we're just very proud of the way they played."
Dawson and Beans were among 11 Atlantic Coast Conference players on the U.S. team. The squad also included players from Princeton, Delaware, Michigan and Iowa, as well as three players who are still in high school.
Another Tar Heel, Karen Mann, also competed in Chile. Mann, who would have been a senior on the UNC squad this season, took the semester off from school to represent her native Canada, which finished 15th.
-- Courtesy UNC