CLEMSON – Freshman forward Megan Buckingham scored on header with 13:01 to play in the second half to lift #9 North Carolina to a 2-1 victory over #16 Clemson in women’s soccer action at Historic Riggs Field. It was an evenly played match between the two teams before a crowd of 1,853 fans.
Buckingham’s game-winner, her second of the season, came nine minutes after Clemson had tied the game on a goal by Salma Anastasio in the 68th minute. UNC had led 1-0 since the fourth minute of the game on a goal by Joanna Boyles, assisted by Summer Green.
UNC has now won four straight matches, all against Top 20 NSCAA-ranked teams, and improves to 5-2-1 on the campaign and 2-0-0 in the ACC. Both Tar Heel conference wins have come in tough road environments at Notre Dame and Clemson. The Tigers, who started the year 7-0-1, have now dropped back-to-back matches against Top 10 teams Virginia Tech and North Carolina. Clemson is 7-2-1 overall and 0-2 in the league. UNC has now won 28 of 29 matches in the all-time series against the Tigers.
The stats ended up as mirror images of each other as both teams took 11 shots, had two corner kicks and six fouls. UNC goalkeepers Bryane Heaberlin and Lindsey Harris combined for six saves, making four and two, respectively. Kailen Sheridan made three saves for the Tigers.
The Tar Heels got on the board with 41:17 left in the first half as Joanna Boyles scored her second goal of the season on a header off a corner kick by Summer Green. Cameron Castleberry dribbled with the ball deep into the right corner and earned the corner kick. Green stepped up and sent a perfect ball from the corner to Boyles who was stationed at the far post. Boyles headed the ball from three yards out and it glanced off the left post and hit the underside of the interior netting. Boyles now has three career goals, two in the last two games.
Carolina and Clemson both had six shots in the first half. UNC starting goalkeeper Bryane Heaberlin made four first half saves to keep the Tigers off the scoreboard. Her best save of the half came on a shot by Tina Shakes at the 16:42 mark of the half. The Tigers also had a dangerous chance in the 39th minute when a ball bounced around the Tar Heel penalty area before a Clemson shot by Catrina Atanda was deflected into the outside left netting.
In the 52nd minute, Carolina almost doubled its lead as Joanna Boyles fed a perfect through ball to Amber Munerlyn who got behind the Clemson defense. Clemson goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan smartly came off her line to cut down the angle and kicked Munerlyn’s shot away at the 12-yard line.
Clemson tied the score at 67:28 of the match after the Tar Heels committed a foul near midfield. The ball was sent into the box where an initial shot by Savannah Coiner was deflected by the Tar Heel defense. The ball fell directly to the Tigers’ Salma Anastasio who looped a shot from 12 yards out over UNC goalkeeper Lindsey Harris, who had replaced Heaberlin at halftime.
UNC regained the lead 2-1 with 13:01 to play in the second half as freshman Megan Buckingham tallied her second goal of the season off assists by Paige Nielsen and Jewel Christian. Tar Heel freshman forward Christian tracked down a pass deep in the left corner of the pitch, kept the ball alive and fed Nielsen on the left side of the penalty area. Nielsen settled the ball, shifted to her left foot and sent a nifty cross to Buckingham who headed her shot from the six-yard line into the lower left corner of the goal.
The Tar Heels held off the Tigers over the last 13 minutes of play to emerge with the victory, Carolina’s fourth in a row after a 1-2-1 start.
UNC returns to action again on Sunday when it plays at local rival NC State at 1 p.m. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN3.