CAROLINA HEADS TO CARY FRIDAY FOR ACC TOURNAMENT SEMIFINALS: After a 1-0 victory over Boston College last Sunday in Chapel Hill in the tournament quarterfinals, the fourth-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels head to Cary, N.C. on Friday to meet the third-ranked Florida State Seminoles in the semifinals of the 2013 Atlantic Coast Conference Women’s Soccer Tournament.
The Tar Heels are the tournament’s #3 seed while the Seminoles are the #2 seed. The two teams will meet in the 8 p.m. semifinal match on Friday after top-seeded Virginia and fourth-seeded Virginia Tech meet in the first semifinal game at 5:30 p.m.
The venue for this year’s tournament once again is the WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C.
Florida State advanced to the semifinals by beating seventh-seeded Duke 2-0 in Tallahassee last Sunday.
All four teams appearing in this Friday’s semifinals are ranked in the Top 6 of this week’s National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll. Virginia is ranked #1, Florida State #3, North Carolina #4 and Virginia Tech #6.
TICKETS FOR FRIDAY: Tickets are on sale in advance this weekend’s tournament at TheACC.com.
Walk up sales will also be available at the gate on Friday. Admission, which is good for both games, will be $10 for adults, $5 for senior citizens aged 65 and older, $3 for youth tickets (aged 3 through high school) and children under three will be admitted free.
In addition, students at any ACC school can gain free admittance by showing their vaild student IDs at the box office.
SOME BASICS: North Carolina enters the match with a 17-3 overall record after finishing 10-3 in the ACC in the regular season. Florida State is 16-1-3 overall after finishing the ACC regular season at 10-1-2.
The Tar Heels are ranked fourth this week by both the NSCAA coaches and Soccer America. Florida State is currently rated third by both the NSCAA coaches and Soccer America.
WE ARE ON ESPN3 AND WATCH ESPN: Friday’s game will be televised nationally on ESPN3 and WatchESPN. Exact kickoff time is 8:05 p.m. although the game could start later if the first semifinal game runs long.
Links for Friday’s telecast can be found on GoHeels.com, theACC.com and on the web at WatchESPN.
Trey Bender will provide play-by-play coverage of Friday night’s game on ESPN3 with former U.S. Women’s National Team standout Kate Markgraft handling the color commentary.
A LONG-AWAITED RETURN TO CARY: North Carolina will be playing its first match at WakeMed Soccer Park in over three years when it meets Florida State Friday night. UNC’s last apperance in Cary came on November 5, 2010 when the Tar Heels and Wake Forest played to a 1-1 tie in the ACC Tournament semifinals. The Demon Deacons prevailed 5-4 in the penalty kick shootout to advance to the ACC championship match played two days later en route to their only ACC title.
UNC AT WAKEMED SOCCER PARK: North Carolina heads into Friday’s game against Florida State with a 25-1-2 record all-time in games played at WakeMed Soccer Park.
That includes an 18-0-2 record in ACC Tournament games played at WakeMed. The ties were in the 2004 ACC championship game versus Virginia and in the 2010 ACC semifinals versus Wake Forest.
Carolina’s only loss at WakeMed Soccer Park came in the first game the Tar Heels ever played there. UNC met NC State there in a regular-season ACC match hosted by the Wolfpack there on October 10, 2002. UNC lost that match 2-1. That was the only time NC State has ever beaten UNC in women’s soccer and it came despite a 45-10 edge in shots by the Tar Heels.
ALSO FOLLOW VIA TWITTER & LIVE STATS: Fans will also be able to follow the game through Game Watcher on GoHeels.com and live stats on TheACC.com and via Twitter updates at @ncwomenssoccer and @uncwomenssoccer.
CAROLINA IN THE ACC TOURNAMENT: North Carolina has won 20 ACC Tournament titles all-time since the initial league tournament was held in 1988.
The Tar Heels are 59-2-4 all-time in ACC Tournament games but they broke a three-game winless streak in tournament play by beating Boston College 1-0 last Sunday in this year’s quarterfinal round.
IT’S EITHER CAROLINA OR GOING THROUGH CAROLINA: The 26th annual ACC Women’s Soccer Tournament continues Friday with a pair of semifinal games in Cary, N.C.
UNC has won the ACC championship in 20 of the previous 25 tournaments. On the five times that Carolina has not won the tournament, the eventual tournament champion had to eliminate the Tar Heels en route to winning the league crown – NC State in 1988 (PKs vs UNC in final), Virginia in 2004 (PKs vs UNC in final), Wake Forest in 2010 (PKs vs UNC in semifinal), Florida State in 2011 (double overtime win vs UNC in quarterfinals) and Virginia in 2012 (win vs UNC in quarterfinals).
Tournament play began in 1988 and Carolina’s first official loss in ACC play did not come until the quarterfinals of the 2011 tournament.
UNC AS A #3 SEED: UNC heads into Friday’s game versus Florida State with an all-time record of 7-1 as the #3 seed in the ACC Tournament.
LAST TIME OUT FOR UNC: North Carolina heads into the Florida State game on a four-match winning streak. The last time out, UNC played arguably one of its best all-around games of the season in defeating Boston College 1-0. The Eagles are one of the nation’s top offensive teams and the Carolina defense shut them out and limited them to eight shots. The Tar Heels had 21 shots of their own and 10 corner kicks. The difference in the game came in the 40th minute when Crystal Dunn scored on a rebound off a corner kick.
GETTING GOALS FROM UNEXPECTED SOURCES: North Carolina’s offense has been carried all season by a pair of senior All-Americas – midfielder Crystal Dunn and forward Kealia Ohai. The two players have combined for 21 goals and 10 assists this season (52 points). Dunn has 13 goals and five assists and Ohai has eight goals and five assists.
It was an encouraging sign, however, when the Tar Heels won their regular-season finale on October 31 against Duke 3-0 with neither player being involved in the first two goals of the game.
Cameron Castleberry scored the first goal of her career off assists by Kelly McFarlane (her 2nd of the year) and Hanna Gardner (her 1st of the season).
The Tar Heels’ second goal came from Brooke Elby. It was her first goal since she scored against Connecticut on August 31, 2012. Megan Brigman and Summer Green assisted on Elby’s goal.
Green scored UNC’s third goal on a penalty kick. Dunn was involved in that goal as she was fouled in the box, earning the PK for Carolina.
A BAKER’S DOZEN GOALS FOR DUNN: Crystal Dunn’s 13 goals are the most for the Tar Heels in a season since Kealia Ohai tallied 14 goals for the Tar Heels in 2010.
2013 SHUTOUTS: Carolina has posted 12 shutouts in its first 20 games of the season. The Tar Heels are ranked 10th in the nation in goals against average at 0.498 and 15th in the nation in shutout percentage at 0.600.
Senior goalkeeper Anna Sieloff currently ranks seventh in the nation in goals against average at 0.386. Sieloff leads the ACC in goals against average, having allowed only four goals in 933:16.
TAR HEELS VERSUS THE SEMINOLES: North Carolina will be seeking to end a three-match losing streak against Florida State when the two teams meet on Friday night. The Tar Heels lead the all-time series 24-5-2 but FSU has the upper hand of late, going 4-3-1 against Carolina in the last eight meetings.
Each of the last three games have been decided by 1-0 margins. The Seminoles have won each of the past two regular-season meetings after beating UNC 1-0 in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals in double overtime in 2011.
This will be the 12th ACC Tournament meeting between UNC and Florida State. UNC has won 10 of the previous 11 encounters.