Crystal Dunn (Photo courtesy of GoHeels.com)
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – Senior midfielder Crystal Dunn, the 2012 consensus National Player of the Year, picked up where she left off last year Friday evening, scoring a pair of second half goals to power top-ranked North Carolina to a 2-0 win over ninth-ranked Santa Clara as part of the Klockner Classic in Charlottesville, Va. The game was played in a steady rain for most of the first half at Klockner Stadium before the weather cleared in the second half.
The defending national champion Tar Heels won their season opener and will now play VCU Sunday at 12 noon in Charlottesville. No. 7 UVA and VCU played the nightcap Friday.
Dunn’s goals came off assists by forwards Kealia Ohai and Summer Green, respectively, in the 59th and 86th minutes of play. Bryane Heaberlin came off the bench at halftime and made three big second saves to finish off the combined shutout with starter Anna Sieloff.
Dunn put the Tar Heels ahead at 58:27 as she finished with her right foot inside the near left post from 12 yards out after taking a pass from Kealia Ohai. Off a throw in, Ohai gathered in the ball and dribbled past a defender, breaking herself free and feeding Dunn inside the left side of the box for the putaway. The Tar Heels added the insurance goal with 4:07 to play when Dunn took a pass from Summer Green and scored from 15 yards out. Green got behind the Santa Clara defense on the right side with a nifty move past a defender and fed the ball to Dunn, whose shot was initially knocked down by Santa Clara goalkeeper Andi Tostanoski. But the Santa Clara goalie was unable to keep it from going into the back of the net as the spinning ball handcuffed her and rolled across the line.
Dunn, who scored all five of her goals in 2012 in the NCAA post-season, had her first multiple goal game since scoring twice against BYU in the NCAA quarterfinals last year.
Heaberlin made three saves in the second half for the Tar Heels, the most crucial on a header by Sofia Huerta from in close with 32:57 to play. The sophomore goalkeeper also made a save on a shot by Huerta with 8:30 to play off a direct kick after the Tar Heels were called for a foul in a dangerous area. Tostanoski made six saves for Santa Clara, none bigger than the one on a close in shot by Paige Nielsen with 13 minutes to play that kept Santa Clara’s deficit at a single goal.
Despite outshooting Santa Clara 9-1 in the first half and enjoying a 5-0 edge in corner kicks, the Tar Heels had to settle for a scoreless tie with the Broncos at halftime. Carolina had several good chances to score in the half, the first coming from Kealia Ohai in the 11th minute but her shot from 12 yards out went wide left. With 28:11 left in the half, Crystal Dunn had a shot from 22 yards out in the center of the pitch but Andi Tostanoski went to her knees to make the save for SCU.
The only shot of the first half for Santa Clara came with 24:10 when Brittany Ambrose’s strike from the top of the box went high. UNC would get two more excellent looks before halftime. Summer Green had the best chance of the half but from 25 yards her shot sailed high over the bar. Caitlin Ball then had an 18-yard shot with 3:05 left go high as most of UNC’s first half opportunities came from distance.
Carolina outshot the Broncos 17-5 on the game and finished with a 9-0 edge in corner kicks.
The Tar Heels will return to action on Sunday at 12 noon to play the VCU Rams in the second day of action at the 2013 Klockner Classic.
North Carolina will open its home season against the New Mexico Lobos next Friday at 5 p.m. as part of the Nike Carolina Classic at Fetzer Field. The game will be webcast live on GoHeelsTV.