Nov. 27, 2009

By Neil Amato
Special to NCAA.com


CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Though North Carolina advanced to the Women’s College Cup with a relatively easy 5-2 victory over Wake Forest on Friday, coach Anson Dorrance does have one nit to pick.

Kaley Fountain’s goal for Wake Forest early in the second half was the first allowed by North Carolina in more than a month. The Tar Heels had a shutout streak of eight games, the program’s longest in 12 seasons. The total time in which UNC opponents went scoreless between Miami’s goal in a 1-0 upset on Oct. 25 and Fountain’s goal Friday: 798 minutes, 52 seconds.

“I cussed for probably 10 minutes straight,” Dorrance said. “I was just so irritated with the first goal. It looked like we were in cruise control, and I absolutely hate that.”

It was the third time this season that the Tar Heels had allowed more than one goal and just the second time in regulation. The other regulation two-goal game by the opposition was a 7-2 victory over UCLA on Aug. 22.

Wake Forest coach Tony da Luz had high praise for the Tar Heels’ defense, which limited his team to seven shots, including one in the first half.

“They’re super athletic in the back,” he said. “(Whitney) Engen is probably the best defender in the country. I think she’s absolutely rock solid as far as reading the game and just her timing.”

FIGHTING IRISH UP NEXT: The Tar Heels will play Notre Dame in the semifinals on Dec. 4 in College Station, Texas. The second-seeded Fighting Irish advanced with a 2-0 victory over top-seeded Florida State in Tallahassee, Fla., on Friday.

UNC had won nine NCAA titles in a row and 12 of the first 13 before Notre Dame ended the Tar Heels’ reign in 1995. Through the years, the teams have had several memorable meetings in postseason play.

UNC leads the series 11-4-2, including a 6-2 edge in NCAA tournament meetings. Earlier this season, the Tar Heels defeated the Fighting Irish 6-0 in South Bend, Ind.
“They’re an excellent team,” Dorrance said. “We knew they weren’t going to roll over and die.”
The Irish have two NCAA titles, tying them with Portland for second most in the 28 years the sport has been NCAA-sponsored. North Carolina is first with 19 NCAA crowns.

DEACONS PLEASED WITH SEASON: Wake Forest’s women’s soccer program is just 16 years old, and da Luz has been the coach for 13 of those seasons. He’s pleased with the progress made by his team, which advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals for the first time.

The Demon Deacons have been in the NCAA tournament for 14 consecutive years, and they recorded a school-record 15 shutouts in 2009.

“We were in the top 10, top 15 all season,” da Luz said. “It shows that our body of work, from the beginning to the end, we didn’t lose to anybody we shouldn’t have lost to. It was a really, really consistent group.”

Fountain, a senior forward from Austin, Texas, said the future is bright for the program she’s leaving.

“We had a great group of freshmen come in that just picked up everyone,” she said. “And our senior class has been great leaders. I know that making it this far is just going to carry on.”

Though Wake Forest has just a 1-24 record against his program, Dorrance said he has seen the Demon Deacons improve over the years.
“That’s probably, in my opinion, that’s the best Wake Forest team I’ve ever seen,” Dorrance said.

BY THE NUMBERS: North Carolina has won nine games in a row, outscoring opponents 22-2. … Casey Nogueira has scored six goals in her last three games against Wake Forest. Friday’s hat trick was her first of the season. … In 25 games against Wake Forest, UNC has outscored the Demon Deacons 94-8. The lone victory for Wake Forest was a 1-0 triumph in 2000 in Winston-Salem, N.C.