Sept. 26, 2010

Courtesy of UNC

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Kealia Ohai's goal in the 68th minute of play proved to be the difference Sunday afternoon as the North Carolina women's soccer team bounced back from its first loss of the season to beat Virginia Tech 2-1 at Fetzer Field. UNC improved to 9-1-1 overall and 1-1 in the ACC while the Hokies are now 6-5 and 0-2 in the ACC.

Both teams were coming off emotional home losses Thursday night as the top-ranked Tar Heels fell to No. 4 Boston College 3-2 while Virginia Tech was beaten 3-0 by arch-rival Virginia.

The Tar Heels had a couple of early chances to take the lead Sunday. At 5:58, freshman forward Elizabeth Burchenal, who earned her first career start, stole a pass in the offensive third and launched a shot from the top of the box that skimmed off the left post and over the end line. At 11:58, Meghan Klingenberg had a solid shot on goal, trying to sneak one inside the left post but Virginia Tech goalkeeper Dayle Colpitts was able to dive on it for the save.

That proved fortuitous for Virginia Tech as the Hokies struck for the first goal less than three minutes later. Katie Cramp fed a ball from the midfield to the left side where Marika Gray was on the receiving end. Gray's shot from distance proved to be a brilliant strike as it had both accuracy and pace, going into the upper right 90 past Tar Heel goalkeeper Hannah Daly. The goal was the third of the year for Gray, who leads the Hokies in overall points.

Elizabeth Burchenal had shots for the Tar Heels in the 19th and 29th minutes but for the most part Virginia Tech's defense was slowing down the Tar Heels' passing game and limited UNC's offensive opportunities.

The play that completely changed the game came in the 45th minute when UNC had five substitutes in the match. The Tar Heels earned a throw in deep in Virginia Tech territory on the right sideline. Katie Klimczak set the throw in deep into the box where it was flicked on by two different Tar Heels. A pair of Virginia Tech defenders got their feet on the ball after UNC's original touches but eventually it was Meghan Klingenberg who outworked everybody in the box, won possession, pivoted and sent a line drive into the lower left corner from the 10-yard line. The goal came with just 33 seconds left in the first half and was Klingenberg's fourth of the season.

UNC's Courtney Jones had the best chances to unknot the score in the first 20 minutes of the second half. Her second shot of the half, at 64:49, required a tremendous save by Colpitts as Jones got behind the defense and sent a screeching shot near post from about 18 yards that Colpitts had to push over the end line for a corner kick.

It took the Tar Heels less than minutes after that great scoring chance to get the goal that proved to be the difference. It came in the 68th minute and was produced by solid play in the midfield and speed on the offensive end. Amber Brooks won a tough scrap for a ball in the midfield just on the Tar Heels' side of the midfield line. Brooks fed the ball to Brittani Bartok and the junior forward one-timed a brilliant through ball to Kealia Ohai who was racing up the right side. Ohai gathered the ball in without missing a step, dribbled around Colpitts and sent a tough angle shot across the box that settled into the empty net. Ohai's goal was her sixth of the year.

There were only two shots in the game in the final 22:34 of action. Katie Kooiman had a shot in the box for Virginia Tech that was saved by Anna Sieloff, who went in at halftime for UNC, at 68:32, and Ali Hawkins pushed a shot wide for the Heels at 75:23.

UNC finished with an 11-2 edge in shots and an 11-1 advantage in corner kicks. The Tar Heels will return to play next Friday at 7 p.m. when they play at NC State in Raleigh, N.C.