Nov. 15, 2009

Courtesy of North Carolina

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Sophomore forward Courtney Jones scored the game-winner in the ninth minute and Tobin Heath, Meghan Klingenberg and Lucy Bronze went on to add insurance goals as the third-ranked University of North Carolina women's soccer team advanced to the Sweet 16 of the 2009 NCAA Women's Soccer Championship by blanking 25th-ranked Georgia before a crowd of 1,214 fans at Fetzer Field Sunday afternoon.

North Carolina improved to 19-3-1 on the season while Georgia saw its season end with a 15-6-1 record.

North Carolina will now meet Maryland in the third round of the NCAA Tournament next Saturday at 1 p.m. at Fetzer Field. The Terrapins advanced to the third round of the NCAA bracket by beating Washington State 1-0 in College Park, Md. on Sunday afternoon.

Sunday's win ensured that the Tar Heels have now won their first two games in the NCAA Tournament for the 28th successive season.

"I'm jacked to be sitting here with a 4-0 victory against a team like Georgia," said UNC head coach Anson Dorrance, who saw the Tar Heels score four goals on 18 shots against the Bulldogs just two days after scoring just once on 31 shots in a 1-0 first-round NCAA win over High Point.

"We were definitely sharper today because of a combination of factors," Dorrance added "One of those things was the fact the girls were focusing today on their final passes and their finishing and it paid off on the scoreboard. We started a different lineup than we did against High Point. Playing against a team of Georgia's caliber, there was no way we could sit Jessica McDonald out in the first half of a second straight game."

While the offensive numbers were the best in over a month for the Tar Heels, it was the Carolina defense which continued to shine on Sunday as it limited the Bulldogs to only five shots, none on goal. Led by goalie Ashlyn Harris and defenders Kristi Eveland, Whitney Engen and Rachel Givan, the Tar Heels have now posted seven successive shutouts and UNC has now earned clean sheets in 16 of 23 games this season while allowing only 10 goals in those 23 matches. Eveland reached a significant milestone Sunday, starting the 100th game of her career, while Engen started for the 99th time in a UNC uniform.

Carolina has not allowed a goal in 652 minutes and three seconds of play dating back to October 25 when the Heels lost to Miami 1-0 on a goal at 80:11 of the match.

Meanwhile, UNC's offense scored the most goals it has in a game since defeating NC State 5-0 on October 9.

Sophomore forward Courtney Jones got it started early for the Tar Heels when she scored her fifth goal of the season just 8:34 into the match. Off a Tar Heel throw in by Jessica McDonald, a Georgia defender cleared the ball out to UNC freshman midfielder Lucy Bronze at the top of the box. Bronze's shot was redirected into the goal on a heads up play by Jones to put the Tar Heels ahead 1-0.

Carolina continued to put pressure on the Bulldogs and got some separation at 26:48 of the match on Tobin Heath's fifth goal of the season. Maria Lubrano sent a ball from the right side of the pitch to Casey Nogueira who gathered it in at the top of the box with her back to the goal. Nogueira deftly chested the ball back to Heath who volleyed it out of the air over Georgia goalkeeper Michelle Betos from about 22 yards.

Betos finished with five saves on the day while allowing four goals. She was helped twice in the second half by the cross bar as the metal denied hard shots by freshman midfielder Amber Brooks and sophomore forward Courtney Jones from adding to the Tar Heels' 2-0 lead.

Eventually, the Tar Heels would put the Bulldogs away with two goals in the final 11 minutes. At 78:35, UNC's Jones was tripped in the box, giving the Tar Heels a penalty kick. Junior midfielder Meghan Klingenberg stepped up a sent the penalty kick into the back of the net off the hands of Betos to make it 3-0. It was the fourth goal of the season for Klingenberg and her successful strike kept the Tar Heels a perfect five-for-five in penalty kick opportunities this season.

The Tar Heels finished off the scoring just a little over three minutes later as Lucy Bronze scored her third goal of the season and her second in two NCAA Tournament games. Nogueira earned her second assist of the match as she played a ball into the left side of the box where Bronze beat her defender to the inside and scored past the keeper for the final 4-0 margin.

UNC has now won at least its first two games in the NCAA Tournament in every tournament ever played beginning in 1982. Carolina's all-time NCAA Tournament record is now 102-7-1 and Carolina has outscored its opponents 383-59 in those 110 games.