CHAPEL HILL – Crystal Dunn and Paige Nielseneach scored a goal and assisted on another and Satara Murray assisted on a pair of tallies to power fifth-ranked North Carolina to a 4-0 victory over Indiana Friday night in the second round of the NCAA Women’s Soccer Tournament before 2,019 fans at Fetzer Field.
With the victory, the Tar Heels improved to 19-4 on the season and will play host to 13th-ranked Texas A&M (18-4-2) Sunday at 1 p.m. at Fetzer Field in an NCAA third round game. The Hoosiers, who were in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007, saw their season end at 15-7-1. The Aggies advanced to the third round Sunday after surviving a battle with in-state rival Texas Tech. The game ended after two overtimes at 2-2 before A&M earned advancement on penalty kicks 4-3.
Dunn, the 2012 Hermann Trophy winner, returned to the Tar Heel lineup for the first time since she suffered a hamstring injury in practice on November 5. She had missed Carolina’s ACC Tournament semifinal loss to Florida State and the Tar Heels’ NCAA first round win over Liberty.
Against the Hoosiers, she made her presence felt virtually immediately. In the first 33 minutes of the match, the Tar Heels peppered the Hoosiers’ net with 11 shots but were unable to get anything past IU goalkeeper Shannon Flower. The best of those 11 opportunities came off the foot of Brooke Elby who rifled a shot from 20 yards off the left post at 32:13 of the match.
Dunn replaced Joanna Boyles in the lineup at 33:59 and just a little over three minutes later it was 1-0 Carolina. Paige Nielsen flicked a ball on to Tar Heel freshman Cameron Castleberry on the right side. Dunn made a run down the center of the pitch and one-timed Castleberry’s brilliant cross into the right side of the goal at 37:41. It was her 14th goal of the campaign, the most by a Tar Heel since Kealia Ohai had 14 goals in 2010.
The Tar Heels outshot the Hoosiers 12-1 in the first half but they were even better offensively in the second half, scoring three goals on 11 shots. It was less than five minutes into the period that Carolina scored to give it some separation from the Hoosiers. UNC began the second half in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Dunn starting the final 45 minutes. She got involved in the scoring again at the 49:06 mark as she fed freshman Amber Munerlyn in the box and the first-year striker finished her chance in a clinical manner to the goalie’s left from eight yards out. Summer Green fed Dunn on the play and Dunn’s dribbling prowess then found the open Munerlyn for the putaway.
Carolina almost made it 3-0 at the 60:13 mark as Satara Murray‘s header off a Paige Nielsen corner kick was denied by the cross bar. Kelly McFarlane pounced on the rebound and appeared to have scored but a defender pushed the ball back out across the line before the assistant referee could signal a goal.
In the end the slight to McFarlane’s scoring ledger did not matter in the team outcome as the Tar Heels struck for a pair of goals in the final 11 minutes of the match to overcome a six-save performance by Indiana’s Flower and win handily. Carolina matched its season high for goals in a game for the second straight contest.
At 79:53, Kealia Ohai took a pass from Satara Murray and scored from the left side of the box from 15 yards, bending the ball inside the far post. It was Ohai’s 11th goal of the campaign. The Tar Heels then finished off the scoring at 85:52 as Paige Nielsen notched her sixth goal of the season and second of the NCAA Tournament. Vicky Bruce fed a ball to Satara Murray who carried it down the right wing, feeding the ball across to Nielsen who redirected it with her head just inside the near post.
Carolina finished with a 23-10 edge in shots, including a 10-2 margin in shots on goal. The Tar Heels had a 6-1 edge in corner kicks. Goalkeepers Anna Sieloff and Bryane Heaberlin shared the clean sheet, UNC’s 14th of the season in 23 matches. The defensive back line of Murray, Megan Brigman, Hanna Gardner and Katie Bowen again was stellar, limiting Indiana to just two shots.
Carolina and Texas A&M will play each other in NCAA Tournament action on Sunday for the fourth time. All three previous meetings were in NCAA quarterfinal games in Chapel Hill with UNC winning all three of those contests. UNC leads the all-time series 13-2 but the Tar Heels lost their most recent meeting against the Aggies, falling 4-3 in overtime in a 2011 regular-season matchup.
All eight ACC teams which were invited to the NCAA Tournament won their second round matches so half of the Round of 16 field will include teams from the league.