UNC Women’s Soccer to Host Colorado Friday in NCAAT

Megan Buckingham (Courtesy of GoHeels.com)

Megan Buckingham (Courtesy of GoHeels.com)

The sixth-ranked UNC women’s soccer team will compete in Chapel Hill Friday at 7 p.m. in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Tar Heels will take on the 36th-ranked Colorado Buffaloes. UNC’s record stands at 13-3-2 after a 2-0-victory over South Dakota in a first round game.

UNC head coach Anson Dorrance says the team can be better and is going to have to be better to continue advancing.

“I think what I have to do a better job of going into next weekend’s games—I don’t think I tapered my team very well into this game,” Coach Dorrance says. “I think we were a little leg weary and maybe that was a part of the problem. I have to do a better job this week tapering them into a two-game weekend against two teams that could beat us. I think I have to do a better job of that come this training week.”

Coach Dorrance says due to sickness on the roster last week, three starters will be back on the field this weekend.

Carolina has qualified for each of the 33 NCAA Tournaments ever held, the only school in the nation to do so.

“I’m very proud of what our kids have done this year,” Coach Dorrance says. “Our ambition going into the NCAA tournament is we have a good season going, and now based on how far we go we can turn this season into a great one. So that’s our goal now.”

UNC will host a pair of second round games Friday night in Chapel Hill. Seattle will meet South Carolina and the winner of the two games will face off in an NCAA third round game on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Fetzer Field.


UNC WBB, WSoc Battle at Home Friday

Friday marks a new beginning for two Tar Heel women’s teams as women’s basketball begins its regular season at home against Howard at 4 p.m. and UNC women’s soccer begins the first round of competition for the NCAA title at Fetzer Field.

UNC women’s basketball is coming off of two blowout exhibition wins over Carson Newman and Wingate University. Sylvia Hatchell’s Heels will take on the Howard Bisons on Friday at 4 p.m., who finished 11-20 in last year’s season.

Coach Hatchell has seen many pros and cons from her team so far, praising freshman guard Jamie Cherry and preseason All-ACC selection sophomore Allisha Gray, after impressive scoring performances in Monday’s win over Wingate.

Allisha Gray (Courtesy of GoHeels.com)

Allisha Gray (UNC Athletics)

“These guys did a great job and everybody played – I thought a lot of people came off the bench and played well tonight,” Hatchell said. “For a freshman, Jamie just keeps getting better and better out there as she relaxes and becomes more comfortable with the game. Allisha’s got great numbers but her (three-point shot) isn’t falling like it always does, I think she’s saving that.”

Even though the Tar Heels came close to scoring triple-digits in both contests, Hatchell expects even more out of her team’s offensive power – and more points from perimeter shooting.

Coach Hatchell will lead her Tar Heel women's basketball team (WUNC)

Coach Hatchell will lead her Tar Heel women’s basketball team (WUNC)

“We’ve got a lot of really good three-point shooters, I think a lot of (the problem) is nobody’s playing a zone. And so most of our scoring is either on fast breaks or off drives.”

North Carolina will also host the No. 23 UCLA Bruins Sunday at 2 p.m. in Carmichael Arena.

After a heartbreaking 2-0 loss in the ACC Tournament semifinals to the Virginia Cavaliers, women’s soccer head coach Anson Dorrance is looking ahead to beating South Dakota State Friday, and continuing the program’s strong tradition of national championships.

“Even though we’ve been knocked out by a very good Virginia team, we think we’ll have an opportunity to compete in the NCAA tournament. We’re hoping to be placed as a number two seed and we’re hoping this game will show us what we need to work on a bit, so we can continue to improve.”

In their first loss since August, Carolina now sits at a 12-3-2 record. The Tar Heels are in the running for a national title as the No. 2 seed, their eighth recorded time at the tournament spot.

South Dakota State finished atop the Summit League conference with a 10-7-2 record.

North Carolina has been in the NCAA tournament competition every year since its start in 1982. If the Tar Heels are to beat the Jackrabbits Friday, they will host the NCAA second and third round games in Chapel Hill at Fetzer Field.

The game starts at 5 p.m.


Tar Heel Sports Weekend A Mixed Bag

With the UNC football team enjoying a bye week this past weekend, other fall sports teams took center stage and experienced different results.

UNC men’s basketball coach Roy Williams says his team’s hard work in practice paid off last Friday night against Belmont Abbey.

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“Well we’re much more gifted naturally than that team was and we’ve been working pretty doggone hard in practice.  We’ve been getting after them a little bit and I thought in the first couple minutes we weren’t really in to it defensively and then we were really good defensively,” Coach Williams says.

Although Coach Williams was pleased with his team’s 112-34 win, he did see some room for improvement.

“We look like a Model-T Ford out there compared to how I want them to run.  That’s the reason I took those guys out, we had Nate (Britt) and Joel (James) out there and they looked like pedestrians that’s one of the reasons I jumped on them out there.  We need to run harder, we need to get out big guys running more.  It’s no where near where I want it to be but I think we’re going to get there,” Coach Williams says.

Sophomore forward Isaiah Hicks says the Tar Heels keep the atmosphere light in the locker room.

“(The team) is always together in the locker room playing games like ping-pong.  And then you have Joel (James) and Kennedy (Meeks) who are big goof-balls who keep the team laughing and together,” Hicks says.

Ping-pong is one of the team’s favorite ways to stay loose in the locker room but even in ping-pong the Tar Heels keep it competitive

“Marcus…J.P….we have tiers so tier one would be Marcus (Paige), J.P. (Tokoto) and Hoots (Coach Eric Hoots), that’s it,” Hicks says.

UNC volleyball head coach Joe Sagula was once again impressed by his team’s effort following a 3-0 victory over Virginia Tech Sunday.

“We got a lot of weapons and were able to use them all tonight,” Coach Sagula says.

UNC sophomore tennis player Brayden Schnur captured the USTA/ITA National Indoor Collegiate Championships Sunday with a 7-5, 7-6 win over Vanderbilt’s Gonzales Austin.

But not all Tar Heel athletes tasted success over the weekend.

The UNC women’s soccer team lost 2-0 to Virginia in the ACC Tournament semi-finals Friday night

The men’s soccer team lasted only two days longer as they fell 1-0 to Louisville in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals on Sunday.  Following the loss, senior forward Andy Craven says he realizes the regular season is over and that there are things to address before NCAA tournament play begins,

“If anything it was a good indication of where we need to be and what we need to work towards and to know that we haven’t arrived and we haven’t peaked yet.  As many goals we’ve scored it doesn’t matter, it’s playoffs now.  It’s important to maintain the good stuff we’ve done in the season and minimize the bad stuff,” Craven says.

Although not every Tar Heel was victorious over the weekend, the ultimate prize of a national championship is still within reach.


WSoc Bows Out of ACC Tourney In 2-0 Loss to UVA

The North Carolina women’s soccer team, crowned the conference regular season champions,  has been eliminated from the ACC championship tournament after falling to the Virginia Cavaliers in a 2-0 shutout loss in the semifinals Friday night at UNC-Greensboro Soccer Stadium.

With the loss, the Tar Heels fell to 12-2-2 on the season while the Cavaliers improved to 18-1.

Greensboro’s 46-degree weather didn’t stop the speed or intensity of the rivalry game as UVA forward Makenzy (muh-KEN-zee) Doniak  scored her 14th goal of the season in the first ten minutes of play. A long-range shot in the 29th minute by Virginia sophomore forward Morgan Reuther sealed the last goal of the game. The goal was assisted by the conference midfielder of the year, Danielle Colaprico.

Three impressive saves by Carolina junior keeper Bryane Heaberlin spared the Heels from a blow-out deficit after the first half.

Megan Buckingham is the first Tar Heel to be named ACC Freshman of the Year since Lindsay Tarpley in 2002. (UNC Athletics)

Megan Buckingham is the first Tar Heel to be named ACC Freshman of the Year since Lindsay Tarpley in 2002. (UNC Athletics)

The Tar Heels’ best chance to start a run against the Cavaliers was a last minute kick that was stopped by a header from UVA freshman Megan Reid to keep Carolina off of the board going into halftime.

Even with solid scoring position and a penalty kick in the 21st minute of the second half, the Tar Heel offense failed to convert on its opportunities.

UNC is now 59-4-4 all-time in the ACC Tournament.

During the night’s halftime interview, UNC head coach Anson Dorrance praised Virginia as having the best midfield in the country. Their dominant midfield and offensive presence leads the conference in goals scored with 65.

The fourth-seeded Cavaliers will face top-seeded Florida State on Sunday in Greensboro for the ACC title.


Soccer Showdown: #2 UNC vs. #3 UVA In ACC Semis

The North Carolina women’s soccer team, 12-2-1 on the season and 9-0-1 in ACC play, is set to begin postseason play. The Tar Heels will take on the 17-1 Virginia Cavaliers Friday night at 8 p.m. in the ACC Tournament semifinals held at UNC-G Soccer Stadium.

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This year, only the elite arrive in Greensboro for the ACC Tournament. For the first time, the field competing for the title has been narrowed down to a mere four teams, all of them in the top ten nationally, out of arguably the toughest soccer conference in the nation.

Florida State and Carolina tied for the regular season crown with 28 points, just ahead of Virginia, last year’s regular season champion. Those three squads are joined by always dangerous Notre Dame in the ACC bracket.

Anson Dorrance (UNC Athletics)

Anson Dorrance (UNC Athletics)

UNC head coach Anson Dorrance, who boasts a mind-boggling 91.7 overall career winning percentage, obviously wants to win every game, but his eyes are always fixed on the end goal at Carolina – winning a national championship.

The Tar Heels already have 22 of those trophies to their name, but Coach Dorrance knows the importance of postseason seeding to securing the hardware. With that in mind, this weekend provides an opportunity for his squad to lock up a No. 1 seed.

“I’m excited to be where we are in the ACC. This also puts us in great position for our RPI. What all of us are trying to do right now in this final stretch before the NCAA bid is to collect RPI points. If we can go in as a high seed in the NCAA Tournament, that’s going to make our route a lot easier. I think this season has put us in that position,” Coach Dorrance says.

Senior midfielder Brooke Elby says she’s thrilled to accomplish something she’s never done before at Carolina – skating through the ACC gauntlet unscathed.

“It’s a season solidifier [OT win at Syracuse]. We’re undefeated still in the regular season. That’s never happened to me in all four years. That’s one of the most exciting aspects,” Elby says.

But this year’s team is not one of Coach Dorrance’s most talented. The Tar Heels have no explosive players who can take over a game like past greats Crystal Dunn or Kealia Ohai.

In fact, Coach Dorrance says there’s little to no reduction in talent from his starters to his bench players.

“In 393 minutes, a starter hasn’t scored until today. That tells you something. Also, I’ve been saying this all season and this just confirms it – the difference between player No. 11, my last starter, and player No. 20, is nothing,” Coach Dorrance says.

Megan Buckingham is the first Tar Heel to be named ACC Freshman of the Year since Lindsay Tarpley in 2002. (UNC Athletics)

Megan Buckingham is the first Tar Heel to be named ACC Freshman of the Year since Lindsay Tarpley in 2002. (UNC Athletics)

With that said, UNC isn’t likely to run away and hide from any of its postseason competition. Instead, these Tar Heels will have to win it with their legs.

Coach Dorrance is hoping his team’s depth will wear down opponents.

“Why not invest in player 20 and invest in her legs and wear the other team out? That’s been a very effective strategy for us. I think it’s put us in this unique position. We’re not an incredibly talented first 11 roster, but we’re an amazingly deep roster. I think that’s contributed to our success this fall,” Coach Dorrance says.

The Tar Heels and Cavaliers will be meeting for the first time this season Friday night with a trip to the ACC Championship game on the line. UNC leads the all-time series with UVA 35-3-3, but UVA took the last matchup in 2013 by a 2-0 margin.

Friday night’s semifinal action will be broadcast via live streaming right here on Chapelboro.com at 8 p.m.


Weekend Game Preview

Carolina sports are in full swing this weekend with a host of games here in Chapel Hill for Tar Heel fans to enjoy.

Volleyball hosts Miami in Carmichael Arena at 6 p.m. The Tar Heels are 11-14 all-time against the Hurricanes – who are one of the ACC’s top performers with a conference record of 7-2.

Fans are encouraged to wear their Halloween costumes as they cheer Carolina on to victory. There will be a trick-or-treat costume competition with the volleyball team after the match.

Men’s soccer will be taking Fetzer Field in a match against the Virginia Cavaliers Saturday at 7 p.m. This is the last regular-season match for the Heels before the ACC championships begin Wednesday, November 5.

Carolina is now ranked at No. 3 after a 6-2 victory over Georgia Southern Tuesday. Andy Craven tallied a hat trick in the match, naming the senior as the leading scorer in the ACC with 11 goals.

Women’s soccer travels to New York Sunday to face Syracuse at 1 p.m. This also marks the last regular-season match before the team makes its first appearance in the conference championships on Friday. North Carolina is ranked second in the ACC behind the Florida State Seminoles, who they share an identical 8-0-1 record with in the conference.

UNC has not lost a match since August 31st.


UNC to Face Pitt on Charity Weekend

North Carolina women’s soccer’s match against Pittsburgh Sunday will be Project Heels day, the club’s fourth annual clinic for players in eighth grade or younger.

Kids and soccer fanatics alike are invited to Fetzer Field to work on their soccer skills with the 2014 team, and make a contribution to UNC’s research and cancer treatment hospital, the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Center.

The Pitt Panthers are taking Fetzer Field for the first time in history Sunday against the Tar Heels, who are still unbeaten in the ACC after flushing Wake Forest Thursday in a 3-0 victory.

Pitt will be traveling to Chapel Hill with a 6-7-0 record and only two wins in the conference following a 2-0 loss to Notre Dame.

The match kicks off at 1 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN3.

Don’t forget to register your kids for Project Heels here or by contacting ncwomenssoccerpinkclinic@gmail.com.


Soccer Hopes To Hold Unbeaten ACC Run

Almost a week after defeating fifth-ranked Virginia Tech, Carolina women’s soccer is set to face another ACC opponent, the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Thursday at 7 p.m. at Fetzer Field.

North Carolina is still unbeaten in the ACC with a record of 4-0-0 and has won its last six matches, placing the Heels as the seventh best team in the nation according to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.

Wake Forest is heading into Thursday’s match with a 1-2-1 record in the conference, tying 1-1 with the Clemson Tigers in their most recent match last Saturday.

Due to scheduling conflicts, WCHL will not be doing a local broadcast for this game.

The Heels are also preparing for their third straight home game with a match against Pittsburgh this weekend. Sunday marks the first time the Panthers have competed on Fetzer Field.

Visitors are also encouraged to attend this weekend’s 4th annual Project Heel events, which allows kids eighth grade and younger to work on their soccer skills with the women’s club. All proceeds from the event will benefit the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.


Buckingham’s Goal Powers Tar Heels Past Tigers

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.

Box Score


UNC Soccer Stocks Increasing

The UNC men’s and women’s soccer teams saw improvements in recent polls, although the women haven’t seen the pitch competitively in ten days.


Men’s Poll – Click to enlarge

The NSCAA coaches agreed with College Soccer News propelling the Tar Heel men to the No. 1 spot. Carolina received seven first-place votes and edged out UCLA for the top spot by just eight points. The Bruins and No. 3 Creighton Bluejays also received seven first-place votes each. The last first-place vote went to Notre Dame, which sits at No. 5.


Women’s Poll – Click to enlarge

The UNC women inched from No. 10 to No. 9 this week. The team’s last contest resulted in a win against Arkansas, 2-1 in the Duke Nike Classic on September 7. UNC still has three more days off until ACC play begins against Notre Dame Saturday in South Bend, Indiana.

UCLA, which Carolina tied with on August 29 in the Carolina Nike Classic, holds the No. 1 spot with 24 of the 25 first-place votes. Virginia Tech ranks No. 2, according to the poll, and received one top vote. The Tar Heels and Hokies meet October 3 in Chapel Hill.