Spartans fall, 3-0 to No. 2 North Carolina
GREENSBORO, NC – The UNC Greensboro women’s soccer team dropped a heartbreaker this evening to No. 2 North Carolina. The Spartans held the Tar Heels to just one goal in the first half, but lost the battle as Carolina was able to notch two more in the second for a 3-0 final.
This marks the first time since 1989 that the Tar Heels have made the trip to Greensboro for a match against the Spartans. The anticipation of a great matchup brought out the largest crowd the UNCG women’s soccer team has ever entertained at home.
The attendance of 2,844 was not only a new record for the women, but also marked the sixth-largest crowd (men’s or women’s) since the stadium was remodeled in 1991 and the largest crowd since the Oct. 2, 1999, men’s Homecoming game against Wake Forest, when 2,914 fans packed the stadium.
As far as on the field, control seemed to be in the hands of North Carolina for the first five minutes until a short chop by senior Karla Davis over the UNC defense gave the Spartans a jumpstart. Sophomore Jen Bronson nabbed the ball on the left side, but was unable to put it in the net.
In the eighth minute, North Carolina’s Whitney Engen scored her first goal of the season, and what turned out to be the game-winner, with a right corner shot from the top of the key.
With nearly 30 minutes left to go in the half, UNCG’s Bronson and freshman Kristin Player found themselves with open room in front of the Tar Heels goal, but the shot opportunity came up just short as the Carolina defense was able to recover.
The remaining minutes of the first half was a defensive battle on both ends of the pitch. Both UNCG and the Tar Heels created multiple scoring opportunities, but it was the defensive lines that kept it to such a tight game.
UNCG’s Player got a shot off early to start the second half, but North Carolina’s Anna Rodenbough was able to nab it before it could cross the line.
At 63:56 UNC’s Mandy Moraca jammed a crossbar ricochet into the right side of the net for Carolina’s second goal of the game. Yael Averbuch is credited with the assist as it was her off-the-mark shot to the crossbar the set up Moraca’s first goal of the season.
The Tar Heels added another goal with nearly 22 minutes left to go as Sterling Smith was able to put the ball into the back of the net from the top of the arc. It was her second goal of the season.
Senior goalkeeper Katherine Ryan seized the opportunity throughout the game to make some great saves, including a corner kick nab in the middle of traffic. Ryan got a bit knocked around near the end of the game and was relieved by freshman Barrie Vogel with 20:57 left to go. On the evening, Ryan notched 3 saves.
Head coach Eddie Radwanski found the opportunity to play such a high-quality team as another chance to make his Spartan squad even stronger. “We have to take what we learned from this game and use it to prepare us for our next two games and ultimately for conference play.”
“I’m please with everyone’s effort, fight, and intensity. We had a few successes going forward, but sometimes that final pass just isn’t where it should be.”
He went on to commend UNC coach Anson Dorrance on the tradition he has built in Chapel Hill.
“This team is very good at what they do and they are not defending national champions for no reason. They brought us 90 minutes of pressure, but this sort of opportunity is something that is just too good to pass up.”
The Tar Heels have won 19 national championships since 1981 and in his 29 seasons at UNC, Dorrance has amassed 631 victories and just 29 losses.
Following the end of the game, sophomore Lauren Lopez was named the Greg Harrison UNCG Player of the game.
The Spartans will return to UNCG Soccer Stadium on Saturday as they take on Wake Forest at 7pm.
For more information on UNCG women’s soccer and all other Spartan athletics visit www.uncgspartans.com.
SCORE BY PERIODS
UNCG..... 0 0 0
UNC....... 1 2 3
SCORING SUMMARY: UNC Engen (1), 8:39; UNC Moraca (1) (Averbuch), 63:56, UNC Smith (2), 68:12. Shots: UNC 12, UNC Greensboro 3. Saves: UNC 2 (Rodenbough 2), UNC Greensboro 6 (Ryan 3). Corner Kicks: UNC 8, UNC Greensboro 2. Fouls: UNC 12, UNC Greensboro 13.
- UNCG -