Oct. 2, 2009

Courtesy of North Carolina

NEWTON, MASS. - The top-ranked University of North Carolina women's soccer team survived a scare Thursday night, scoring a pair of goals on penalty kicks in the final 16 minutes to rally past No. 6-ranked Boston College 2-1 before a crowd of 1,800 at the Boston College Soccer Complex. Senior forward Casey Nogueira scored on a penalty kick in the 75th minute to tie the game 1-1 and junior midfielder Ali Hawkins then scored on a penalty kick in the 82nd minute to provide the winning margin. Both goals resulted after the Eagles were called for handballs in the penalty area.

With the win, UNC improved to 10-0-1 overall and 3-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Eagles fell to 9-2 overall and 1-2 in the ACC. Boston College won its opening nine games of the season but has now dropped back-to-back games to No. 5 Florida State 3-2 and No. 1 North Carolina 2-1.

Boston College took the lead at 54:59 when midfielder Kristen Mewis slipped a ball behind the UNC defense to midfielder Gina DiMartino who scored her sixth goal of the season, chipping a shot over Tar Heel goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris in a one-on-one opportunity.

Trailing for the first time this season, the Tar Heels needed a rally to pull out the victory. Carolina caught the break it needed in the 75th minute when Boston College was called for a handball in the box when a bouncing ball in the penalty area was touched by a BC player. UNC senior forward Casey Nogueira stepped up to the penalty spot and buried her 12-yard shot to the right of Boston College goalkeeper Jillian Mastroianni to tie the game 1-1. Nogueira's goal came at 74:17 and it was her fourth goal of the season and her first since she scored in UNC's 6-0 win over Notre Dame on September 4.

Just a little over seven minutes later, Carolina got the game-winner off the foot of junior midfielder Ali Hawkins. Again, a handball in the box was called by referee Andrew Chapin after a cross by UNC forward Jessica McDonald went off the arm of a Boston College defender over the end line. Hawkins' first penalty kick attempt was good but a Tar Heel player on the edge of the box was called for a false start and the goal was taken off the board. Hawkins took the penalty again and sent it to the right of Mastroianni for a 2-1 lead.

UNC outshot the Eagles 15-8 and the Tar Heels had an 11-1 edge in corner kicks. Mastroianni made six saves for the Eagles, including four in the first half on seven Tar Heel shots. Ashlyn Harris made five saves for the Tar Heels as six of BC's eight shots were on goal. The five saves were one short of Harris' career high of six set at Stanford last year.

Harris and senior midfielder Tobin Heath returned to the Tar Heel lineup after missing the Duke and Wake Forest games while practicing with the U.S. National Team in Carson, Calif. for the past 10 days. Harris and Heath flew from Los Angeles to Boston Thursday to play in the game and both played the full 90 minutes in the victory. UNC also got 90-minute efforts from starting defenders Kristi Eveland, Rachel Givan and Whitney Engen. Boston College used only two substitutes in the game and eight of the Eagles' 11 starters played the full 90 minutes.

The Tar Heels will return to Chapel Hill Friday and then bus to Blacksburg, Va. on Saturday. The Tar Heels will take on the Virginia Tech Hokies Sunday at 5 p.m. It will be a battle of two ACC unbeatens as both teams are 3-0 in the ACC. The Hokies are 9-2 overall.

The game marked the first time UNC has won a game on a penalty kick since the Tar Heels beat UCLA 1-0 in last year's NCAA semifinals. The last time UNC scored on two penalty kicks in the same game came on October 16, 2005 when the Tar Heels beat Virginia Tech 3-1 in Blacksburg, Va.