CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Third-seeded North Carolina got four goals and an assist from Laura Zimmerman and three goals and an assist from Corey Donohoe to defeat sixth-seeded Loyola 16-13 on Saturday afternoon in an NCAA Tournament quarterfinal game at Fetzer Field. Six different UNC players scored at least two goals in a balanced scoring attack.
Carolina is making its third consecutive appearance in the semis after reaching the national title game in 2009 and the semifinals in 2010. The Tar Heels lost to Northwestern in each of those final four appearances. It will be UNC’s sixth overall semifinal appearance.
On the day, Carolina also got two goals and an assist from Kara Cannizzaro and Becky Lynch, two goals from Emily Garrity and Brittney Coppa and a goal and two assists from Abbey Friend. The Tar Heels’ 16 goals were the most given up by the Greyhounds this season.
For Loyola (17-3), All-America and national player of the year finalist Grace Gavin led the way with five goals and two assists. Meg Decker scored three goals, Marlee Paton scored twice and Abby Rehfuss had a goal and an assist. Taryn VanThof and Cara Filippelli added goals for the Greyhounds.
Trailing 6-5 with 10:30 left in the first half, the Tar Heels closed the half on a 5-1 scoring run to take a 10-7 lead into halftime. Five different Carolina players scored during the rally, and Zimmerman scored on a free position shot as the half expired for Carolina’s 10th goal.
“I thought Zimm’s goal at the end of the first half was really big for us in terms of momentum going into halftime,” UNC head coach Jenny Levy said after the game. “Loyola is a very good team and I credit our team for keeping its poise after we trailed early on.”
The Tar Heels kept the momentum going coming out of the lockerroom with back-to-back goals in the first 3:18 of the second half to take a 12-7 lead. After Gavin and VanThof scored two in a row for the Greyhounds to make it 12-9, Zimmerman scored a pair of goals in a 13-second span to push the lead back up to 14-9 with 21:12 to play.
Loyola would not go away, however, responding with goals from Gavin and Decker in less than 30 seconds that made it 14-11 Carolina. After a 12-minute scoreless stretch for both teams, Donohoe and Friend tallied unassisted goals for the Tar Heels to up the lead to five again at 16-11 with 7:14 to play.
The Greyhounds made it interesting in the final minutes by scoring twice more and mounting a frantic attempt to get closer than three goals, but UNC goalkeeper Lauren Maksym made several key saves down the stretch and finished with 10 saves.