Nov. 13, 2009

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - The third-ranked North Carolina women's soccer team outshot Big South Conference champion High Point 31-0 in the first round of the 2009 NCAA Women's Soccer Tournament but it took a goal in the 68th minute by Tar Heel freshman midfielder Lucy Bronze to allow UNC to advance to the second round of the tournament Sunday after the Tar Heels beat the Panthers 1-0 at Fetzer Field.

Carolina will play in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Sunday at 1 p.m. at Fetzer Field against the winner of the second first-round game at Fetzer Field Friday night between Georgia and Colonial Athletic Association champion UNC Wilmington. That game started at 7:30 p.m.

High Point's Marisa Abbott made 14 saves to lead the Panthers as she stopped the Tar Heels repeatedly when the cross bar and the posts were not. Carolina hit the post once and the cross bar twice and another four shots were blocked by the Panthers' defense. Ironically, it was a shot off the right post in the 68th minute that led to the goal that allowed the Tar Heels (18-3-1) to advance past the Panthers (7-15-2).

UNC senior forward Casey Nogueira, who had seven shots on the night, struck a hard shot from outside the penalty area which clanged off the right post. UNC freshman Lucy Bronze was right there and she stuck the rebound past Abbott for the winning goal. It was Bronze's second goal of the season and her second in the past four games.

"It wasn't our plan for Lucy to be the margin of victory but we're excited to advance in the NCAA tourney," said UNC head coach Anson Dorrance, who coaches the Tar Heels to their 101st NCAA Tournament victory on Friday. "In a two-game weekend, you're going to try and rest the legs. I think we're rested because we were able to play a lot of players."

While the Tar Heels did not produce offensive fireworks, Dorrance was pleased the Tar Heels advanced and did so without injury.

"It was frustrating not being able to score," Dorrance said. "This is a very difficult game to score in. Even against a team like this, a hard working team that's bunkering back, it's going to be hard to score.

"I told the women after the game, `We're in the second round, no one got hurt, and we're rested since the game was played primarily in their half.' If someone said you'll win 1-0, no one will get hurt and the team will be rested, I would have said `Absolutely, where do I sign?'"

Abbott had 14 saves overall on the night with six in the first half and six in the second half.

The Tar Heels posted their sixth straight shutout and it is the second time in the last six games that UNC has not allowed a shot in a game. The Tar Heels did not allow a shot against Clemson in the game on October 29 between the two teams.

The Carolina defense has now not allowed a goal in 562 minutes and three seconds. The last player to score against UNC was Beverly Goebel of Miami against the Tar Heels at 80:11 of a 1-0 victory by the Hurricanes on October 25.

Senior defenders Kristi Eveland and Whitney Engen started their 99th and 98th career games, respectively in Friday's win. Eveland played in the 102nd game of her career Friday night while Engen played in her 100th career games against the Panthers.

Carolina's win marked the 28th straight year in which the Tar Heels have won its opening game in the NCAA Tournament.