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Tournaments Nov 11, 2012

UNC women oust Radford in NCAA first round

Second-half goals by Amber Brooks and Crystal Dunn powered 14th-ranked North Carolina to a 2-0 victory over Big South Conference champion Radford Saturday night at Fetzer Field in the first round of the 2012 NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Tournament.

With the win the Tar Heels will now host a regional next weekend in Chapel Hill.  Second round games will be Friday at 4 p.m. (Baylor versus winner of Sunday’s Virginia Tech-Georgetown game) and at 6:30 p.m. (North Carolina versus Illinois).

The Tar Heels, seeded #2 in the lower left quadrant of the bracket, improved to 11-5-2 on the season with the victory.  Radford’s season ended at 14-3-4.  The Highlanders’ 17-match unbeaten streak was ended by the Tar Heels Saturday.  They had not lost since August 26 when they fell 1-0 at East Tennessee State.

Playing against one of the better defenses in the country in NCAA Division I statistical categories, the Tar Heels dominated the game statistically, outshooting the Highlanders 29-3 and taking 13 corner kicks to zero for Radford.  Nevertheless, it took until the game’s 58th minute for the Tar Heels to get on the scoreboard.

Freshman Summer Green took a shot from an acute angle on the left side of the box that was blocked by the defense, but Amber Brooks made a near post run and she seized the loose ball and powered it into the back of the frame at 57:22.  It was her seventh goal of the season and her third game-winner of the campaign.  The goal ended a scoreless minutes streak of 660:07 by the Highlanders’ defense.  They had last surrendered a tally on October 13 in a 1-1 tie against Winthrop.

The Tar Heels tacked on an insurance goal in the 73rd minute of play.  Alyssa Rich played a through ball to Crystal Dunn who dribbled into the box on the right side and shot to the far post.  The ball grazed the inside of the upright and ricocheted into the back of the twine for her first goal of the 2012 campaign.  Dunn’s last goal had come on November 20, 2011 against UCF.

Che Brown played all 90 minutes in goal for the Highlanders and she finished with a career high 11 saves.  Her previous career high was 10 versus Liberty in the Big South Conference semifinals.  Radford entered the match with the third best shutout percentage in Division I, the fourth best save percentage and the 10th best goals against average.

UNC utilized two goalkeepers in the game.  Senior Adelaide Gay played the first 76:48 and made one save while freshman Bryane Heaberlin played the final 13:12 and kept the Tar Heels’ shutout intact.

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