Tar Heels race past Tribe in first round
Rich scores first goal of season to lead UNC to 4-1 win vs. W&M
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Senior reserve midfielder Rebecca Crabb scored on a header in the 67th minute to give 19th-ranked North Carolina the lead for good and the Tar Heels went on to beat 25th-ranked William & Mary Saturday afternoon 4-1 before 717 fans at sun-drenched Fetzer Field.
The win ended a historic three-match losing streak for the Tar Heels who improved to 12-5-1 on the season and 109-8-1 in NCAA Tournament matches. William & Mary, the Colonial Athletic Association champion, saw its season end at 17-3-2. UNC improved to 7-0 all-time against the Tribe in the NCAA tournament.
Carolina advances to the NCAA second round where it will meet the winner of a first round match between Texas State and Baylor being played later tonight in Waco, Texas. The second round match will be played next Friday at a site to be determined.
Carolina's four-goal explosion was its top offensive output since it beat Miami (Fla.) 4-1 on Oct. 2. The UNC defense limited the Tribe to only four shots and it shut down one of the most explosive offenses in the NCAA. The Tribe came into the match ranked 14th in scoring offense out of 319 NCAA Division I teams with 2.48 goals per match.
UNC took the lead in the 10th minute of play on junior forward Alyssa Rich's first goal of the season. After a foul on the Tribe, Amber Brooks served a long ball from UNC's side of midfield to the head of Kealia Ohai on the left side of the box. Ohai redirected the ball across the penalty area where she found Rich unmarked. Rich finished into the left side netting at 9:15 to give the Tar Heels a 1-0 lead. It marked only the second first half goal for the Tar Heels in their last eight games.
It didn't take long for William & Mary to equalize. First at 13:13, Erin Liberatore got free in the box and was one-on-one with Tar Heel starting goalkeeper Adelaide Gay but Gay was able to smother the shot from the 12-yard line to keep the score in favor of UNC. But less than two minutes later the Tribe got the equalizer off the foot of Diana Weigel. After a foul on UNC, William and Mary sent a long ball into the box that was sent across the goal line for a corner kick.
Cortlyn Bristol chose not to serve the corner into the box but instead sent a ball to the foot of Weigel on the left side of the field. Weigel buried her shot from 25 yards out into the upper right corner for the tying tally at 14:58. The goal was the first allowed by Gay in 495 minutes and 16 seconds since NC State's Stephanie Bronson tallied against her on September 16 at the 14:42 mark of the match.
Carolina had two great looks to retake the lead before halftime. At 21:44, Alyssa Rich had a point blank shot from the left side of the penalty area but Tribe keeper Katherine Yount, who had eight saves in the match, parried it away at the last second. Then at the 33:12 mark, Crystal Dunn got some space at the top of the box and sent a shot that hit the underside of the cross bar and bounded away.
UNC came out strong in the second half, taking the first five shots of the half and outshooting the Tribe 11-2 overall in the second 45 minutes. The shot discrepancy eventually played to Carolina's advantage. The Tar Heels broke through at the 66:19 mark as Rebecca Crabb scored her second goal of the season, and her first since September 16 against NC State. The Tar Heels earned a corner kick and Ranee Premji placed her kick perfectly as Crabb ran on to it on the near post and redirected it across the frame and over the line for a 2-1 lead.
Less than two minutes later, William & Mary had its best chance of the second half as its leading scorer Mallory Schaffer, who had 17 goals coming into the match, had an open shot from the top of the box but she sent her attempt high.
The Tar Heels then went about the business of putting the game away. Crystal Dunn was the catalyst behind UNC's third goal. The sophomore midfielder chased down a ball on the far left side of the pitch after another corner kick by Premji was redirected out of traffic. Dunn attacked the end line, beating two defenders and then lofted a perfect cross to the far post where Kelly McFarlane was standing unmarked on the two-yard line. McFarlane headed the cross into the back of the net for her second goal of the season and her first since August 28 against Houston.
Carolina finished off the scoring with a goal by Courtney Jones, her sixth of the season, at 85:39. Jones took a pass from Kelly McFarlane and from 20 yards out powered a shot into the upper right portion of the frame past Yount. Crystal Dunn also assisted on the goal. This was the first multi-assist game for Dunn since Oct. 21, 2010 when she had two assists in a 5-1 win at Clemson.
North Carolina finished the game with a 19-4 edge in shots and a 7-2 advantage in corner kicks. UNC placed 12 of its 19 shots on frame. That was a marked improvement over Carolina's last performance when UNC placed only three of 18 shots on frame against Florida State in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament on October 30, a 1-0 double overtime loss for UNC. Rich led UNC in shots on frame with four and Jones had three shots on goal.