LONG HOMESTAND OVER, CAROLINA HITS THE ROAD TO MEET CLEMSON FRIDAY: After a four-game homestand against Atlantic Coast Conference teams, the North Carolina women's soccer team returns to the pitch this Friday to meet the Clemson Tigers at 7:00 p.m. at Historic Riggs Field. The game will be webcast live on the website of Clemson Athletics, www.clemsontigers.com.
SUCCESS AT HOME: After starting the ACC regular season with back-to-back road games at Maryland and Virginia and going 0-1-1 in those games, the 2012 University of North Carolina women's soccer team returns to Fetzer Field on September 20 to start a four-game homestand against ACC opponents. With the exception of a 1-0 loss to top-ranked and undefeated Florida State on September 27, the Tar Heels thrived on the homestand, going 3-1 overall and beating a pair of Top 15 teams, downing Virginia Tech 3-1 on September 20 and Boston College 1-0 on October 4.
THE BASICS OF THE MATCHUP: The Tar Heels enter the match with a record of 7-3-2 overall, including a 3-2-1 mark in the ACC. The Tigers come into the match at 5-8-2 overall and 0-7 in the ACC.
FINISHING THE REGULAR SEASON STRONG: Carolina came out of the gates this year a bit slow by historical standards, going 0-1-1 in the first two matches and standing 4-2-2 after eight games.
Three wins in the past four games have moved UNC into a tie for fifth place in the ACC standings with Virginia. Maryland leads the league with 16 points followed by Florida State with 15, Duke with 13 and Wake Forest with 12.
Carolina has four regular season games left, meeting Clemson, Duke and NC State on the road and hosting Wake Forest. If the Tar Heels are to gain a final Top 4 league standings and with it a home game in the ACC quarterfinals, they do control some of their own fate as they play two of the four teams currently ahead of them in head-to-head matchups - Duke on October 18 and Wake Forest on October 21.
THIS WEEK IN THE RANKINGS: UNC is now seventh in the Soccer America poll and 10th in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll. UNC is currently 16th in the Top Drawer Soccer ranking.
It is the second highest ranking for Carolina this year in the NSCAA poll (8th in the preseason) and the third highest ranking int he Soccer America poll (fourth in preseason, sixth on September 11).
SOCIAL MEDIA: You can follow match action on Twitter at @ncwomenssoccer (official feed) and @uncwomenssoccer (players feed).
Live stats for the match will also be available on GoHeels.com and www.ClemsonTigers.com.
THE NCAA RPI: The NCAA announced the third RPI of the 2012 season Tuesday and North Carolina is in the Top 10 for the third straight week at No. 6. Stanford leads the RPI followed by UCLA, Florida State, Penn State and BYU.
Carolina has played a schedule dotted with teams high in the current RPI. In the comming two weeks, UNC will play #11 Wake Forest on October 21, #7 Duke on October 18 and #96 Clemson on October 12. Carolina has already played games against #5 Florida State, #9 Florida, #16 Virginia, #17 Portland, #18 Virginia Tech, #19 Boston College, #23 Notre Dame, #26 Maryland, #36 Marquette, #63 San Diego, #75 Connecticut and #73 Miami.
Of UNC's 16 regular-season matches the only opponent not currently in the RPI Top 100 is NC State. The Tar Heels will play the Wolfpack (#142) on October 25.
UNC VERSUS CLEMSON: North Carolina leads the all-time series with Clemson 25-1.
UNC has won 14 in a row against the Tigers including five successive matchups at Historic Riggs Field. The Tigers last beat the Tar Heels in Clemson 2-1 in 2000.
WORLD CHAMPIONS RETURN TO SQUAD: Three key members of the victorious USA Team at the 2012 FIFA U20 Women's World Cup returned to the Tar Heel squad on Monday, September 11, 2012 after missing the first six games of the season.
In the U20 gold-medal game win over Germany by a 1-0 score on September 8, Ohai scored the only goal of the game, Dunn had the assist on the game-winning goal by her UNC teammate and Heaberlin went the entire way in goal, posting a clean sheet and making five saves.
UNC'S U20 WORLD CHAMPIONS OVER THE YEARS: Ohai, Dunn and Heaberlin continued the legacy of outstanding UNC players who have won gold medals at the FIFA U20 Women's World Cup since 2002. Carolina players have now played key roles in all three tournament championships for the USA.
In 2002, six Tar Heels were on the American roster - Lindsay Tarpley, Amy Steadman, Lori Chalupny, Heather O'Reilly, Kendall Fletcher and Ashlyn Harris. All but Steadman started in the gold medal game for the U.S. against Canada in Edmonton, Alberta. Tarpley's goal in overtime on a rebound of her own saved shot lifted the U.S. to that title 1-0.
In 2008, a pair of UNC players - Nikki Washington and Meghan Klingenberg - started on the U.S. team which beat North Korea in the championship game on December 7, 2008 in Santiago, Chile. That same day, their UNC teammates defeated Notre Dame 2-1 to win the NCAA championship, their 20th national title, in Cary, N.C. at WakeMed Soccer Park.
GREEN RETURNS TO TAR HEELS AFTER PLAYING FOR U17 TEAM FOR WORLD CUP: Freshman forward Summer Green returned to the squad for the Boston College game on October 4 after missing the previous five games while playing for the U.S. U17 World Cup Team in Azerbaijan.
Green had left Chapel Hill Wednesday, September 12 to join her fellow USA teammates for a training camp in Cyprus in advance of the 2012 FIFA U17 World Cup which was played in Azerbaijan September 22-October 13.
The U.S. was looking to win its first World Cup title at that level as North Korea won the title in 2008 and South Korea captured the championship in 2010. Including a training camp in late August, Green will missed six games on the Tar Heel schedule After the US Team tied France 0-0 in its group opener, the Americans defeated Gambia 6-0 behind Green's two-goal effort. The U.S. and North Korea played a 1-1 in the final match of group play but in the process the U.S. side was eliminated from the competition, not advancing because of goal differential.
GREEN'S FAST START: Summer Green's two-goal effort in the U.S. win over Gambia at the U17 World Cup should have come as no suprise to those who have watched the young striker play.
She has proved to be a dynamic force for UNC so far this year. Despite missing the Florida game on August 24 and the first five ACC matches, she leads Carolina in scoring with five goals and two assists for 12 points. She shares the team lead in goal scoring with five along with senior forward Maria Lubrano.
Last spring, Green broke the CONCACAF U17 Women's Soccer Championship scoring record when she tallied 12 goals in the five-game qualifying tournament in Guatemala City in May 2012. She had three hat tricks during the tournament and assisted on the goal in the 1-0 win over Mexico in the gold medal match.
BROOKS NAMED A SENIOR CLASS AWARD CANDIDATE: University of North Carolina senior midfielder Amber Brooks was amongst 30 NCAA® women's soccer student-athletes selected as candidates Tuesday, September 18 for the 2012 Senior CLASS Awards® in collegiate soccer.
To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition.
Brooks is a two-time UNC captain and has started all four years at Carolina. She is a native of New Hope, Pa. She is vying to become the fifth Tar Heel to be named a Senior CLASS Finalist, joining Jessica Maxwell in 2007, Yael Averbuch in 2008, Kristi Eveland in 2009 and Ali Hawkins in 2010. Hawkins won the award in 2010. She became the second Tar Heel to win a Senior CLASS Award, joining Tyler Hansbrough of men's basketball in 2009.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School ®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
The 30 candidate class will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot.
GREEN NAMED ACC, SOCCER AMERICA & TOP DRAWER SOCCER PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: North Carolina freshman forward Summer Green was named the ACC Women's Soccer Player of the Week, the Top Drawer Soccer National Player of the Week and the Soccer America National Player of the Week on September 11, 2012 following her role in wins over Marquette 4-0 and San Diego 5-0.
Green was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2012 Duke Nike Classic following a pair of two-goal games which helped the Tar Heels defeat Marquette, 4-0, and San Diego, 5-0. The rookie from Milford, Mich., tallied two-second half goals in the rout of the Golden Eagles and scored the game-winner against the Toreros. She added the third goal in the victory over San Diego as the Tar Heels pulled away in the second half. Green leads the team with five goals and two assists.
This was her first career ACC Player of the Week nod. Green also earned national honors that week when she was named TopDrawerSoccer.com's National Player of the Week and Soccer America's National Player of the Week. Green was joined on the Top Drawer Soccer National Team of the Week by senior defender Amber Brooks.
ALL-TOURNAMENT HONORS FOR THE HEELS: At the 2012 Notre Dame adidas Invitational August 31 and September 2, freshman forward Summer Green was named the Offensive Most Valuable Player and senior defender Amber Brooks was named the Most Valuable Defensive Player. Senior midfielder Ranee Premji and sophomore defender Satara Murray joined those two Tar Heels on the All-Tournament Team.
At the Duke Nike Invitational on September 7 and 9, Green was named the tournament MVP and was joined on the All-Tournament Team by Brooks, Premji and senior forward Maria Lubrano.
SHUTOUTS ARE INFREQUENT: UNC's 1-0 loss to Florida State on September 27 was only the 33rd time the Tar Heels have been shut out in their history in the 810 matches played since 1979. Carolina has suffered 23 shutout losses in its history. The Tar Heels have also played 10 scoreless ties in their history.
DUNN NAMED PRESEASON ALL-AMERICA: North Carolina junior midfielder Crystal Dunn of Rockville Centre, N.Y., was named to the preseason All-America Team announced by Soccer America Magazine in mid-August. This was the second successive year that the Dunn was named to Soccer America's preseason team.
DUNN NAMED TO HERMANN TROPHY WATCH LIST: North Carolina junior Crystal Dunn was named to the Hermann Trophy Watch List for 2011 in early August. The marks the second straight year Dunn was named to the Hermann Trophy Watch List. She was a semifinalist for the 2010 Hermann Trophy. The Hermann Trophy is awarded annually to the national player of the year in conjunction with the Missouri Athletic Club and the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
TAR HEELS TAP CO-CAPTAINS: A pair of UNC veterans with plenty of starting experience were elected by their teammates as co-captains of the 2012 Tar Heel team.
Senior forward Maria Lubrano of High Point, N.C.and senior midfielder Amber Brooks of New Hope, Pa. were elected co-captains. Brooks is in her fourth year as a starter while Lubrano earned significant starting experience in both 2009 and 2011.
Lubrano is one of the great success stories on the UNC roster as she was granted a sixth season of eligibility in 2012. Lubrano missed the entirety of the 2008 and 2010 seasons with two different season-ending injuries. She was a solid performer on the 2009 national championship team and then returned after a year off to be an impact player in 2011.
THREE TAR HEELS ON TOP DRAWER SOCCER LIST: Top Drawer Soccer Magazine named a preseason and midseason list of the Top 100 upperclassmen to watch in the 2012 season. UNC had three players named to the list, including the top-ranked player in senior mifielder Amber Brooks. Junior Crystal Dunn is the 29th-ranked player on the TDS List of Upperclassmen while Kealia Ohai was the No. 46 player on the list.
CAROLINA'S STELLAR ACC RECORD: Carolina has gone 56-12-3 in ACC regular-season matches since a 2-1 loss to Duke at Fetzer Field on October 9, 2005. The losses were to Miami in 2007, Virginia Tech, Florida State and Miami in 2009, Boston College and Maryland in 2010, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Maryland in 2011 and Maryland and Florida State in 2012 while the ties were with Florida State in 2008, Wake Forest in 2011 and Virginia in 2012.
In an era of the greatest parity in ACC history over the past eight years, Tar Heels have still won more than 80 percent of their last 71 ACC regular season games.
CAROLINA IN SEASON OPENERS: After a 1-0 loss at Portland on August 17, 2012, UNC saw a four-game winning streak in season openers come to an end after having lost two in a row in 2006 and 2007. The Tar Heels are 28-4-2 all-time in season openers with losses in 1983 (road), 2006 (road), 2007 (home) and 2012 (road) and ties in 1985 (home) and 2002 (road).
UNC IN HOME OPENERS: North Carolina has a record of 30-1-3 in home openers all-time. The only loss came to South Carolina 1-0 in 2007 and the ties were against George Mason in 1985, against Stanford in 2010 and against Florida in 2012.
THE ALL-TIME RECORD: UNC heads into its match against Clemson with a record of 735-47-28 overall, a winning percentage of .926.
AVERAGE RECORD PER YEAR: UNC's average record per year in its 34 years of soccer is 21.55 wins per year, 1.35 losses per year and 0.82 ties per year.
FIFTEEN ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICAS SINCE 2005: UNC has had 15 selections for the Capital One Academic All-America first, second and third teams since 2005, including two players in 2011. Carolina also had seven women's soccer players named Academic All-Americas from 1983-2001, giving the program 22 selections since the Academic All-America program began in 1983. Following is a summary of the 15 selections from 2005-11.
- 2005 - Heather O'Reilly, second team; Lindsay Tarpley, third team.
- 2006 - Heather O'Reilly, first team (Academic All-America of the Year); Anna Rodenbough, second team; Yael Averbuch, third team.
- 2007 - Yael Averbuch, second team; Anna Rodenbough, second team.
- 2008 - Kristi Eveland, first team; Yael Averbuch, first team (Academic All-America of the Year); Anna Rodenbough, second team.
- 2009 - Kristi Eveland, first team; Whitney Engen, second team; Ashlyn Harris, second team.
- 2011 - Adelaide Gay, first team; Amber Brooks, second team.
30 TOURNAMENT BIDS IN 30 YEARS: Carolina's at-large bid to the 2011 NCAA Tournament insured that it was playing in The Big Dance for the 30th successive year.
Only North Carolina and Connecticut made the NCAA Tournament field in each of the first 26 years of tournament play. However, the Huskies did not make the tournament field in 2008 so Carolina has the distinction of being the only team to make the NCAA field in all 30 years. The Tar Heels have won 20 of the 30 NCAA titles since the tournament began in 1982.
TAR HEELS PICKED FOURTH IN PRESEASON ACC POLL: The North Carolina women's soccer team was picked to finish fourth during the 2012 Atlantic Coast Conference season in a head coaches' poll released August 10.
Duke collected a total of 119 total points (11 points for each first-place vote, 10 points for each second-place vote, etc.). Wake Forest and Florida State, which joined Duke in the 2011 NCAA College Cup, were selected second and third, respectively. The Demon Deacons amassed 99 total points to the Seminoles' 94. North Carolina (92 points) and Virginia (89) were selected to finish fourth and fifth in the tight voting.
The Blue Devils received 10 first-place votes in balloting among the ACC's 11 head coaches. Defending conference champion Florida State received the other first-place vote. Duke is the first team other than North Carolina to be selected first in the ACC preseason poll since the coaches' vote began in 1992.
O'REILLY AND HEATH REPEAT AS GOLD MEDALISTS: North Carolina alumnae Heather O'Reilly and Tobin Heath were officially crowned as Olympic gold medalists again as the U.S. defeated Japan 2-1 in the gold medal match August 9 before an Olympic record crowd of 80,203 fans at the Hallowed Grounds of Wembley Stadium. The U.S. has now won three gold medals in a row and four of the five tournaments since the sport was added to the Olympic docket in 1996 in Atlanta.
It was the third Olympic gold medal for O'Reilly who also was on winning teams in 2004 and 2008. Heath won her second gold medal. She was also on the winning side in Beijing.
"We were so proud to represent UNC at the Olympics," said O'Reilly. "UNC is a special place, and it was there that our passion, skills, and competitive fire grew. UNC and North Carolina as a whole has always been so supportive of women's soccer and we are happy we could bring home another gold to an already title rich community."
Robyn Gayle, a defender for the Canadian team, won a bronze medal in the 2012 Olympics after the Canadians defeated France 1-0 in the bronze medal game. Gayle is a 2008 alumna of UNC.
SEVEN TAR HEEL GAMES TO BE TELEVISED IN 2012: The Atlantic Coast Conference announced broadcast coverage August 3 for its Olympic sports for the upcoming fall season. The league's media rights-holders will distribute at least 77 events live, more than double any previous fall package.
Seven University of North Carolina women's soccer games are available this year either through regional television coverage or webcasting. Earlier this summer, UNC announced a partnership with WCHL Radio in Chapel Hill that will see eight games broadcast live this season.
The two packages will give Carolina women's soccer unprecedented media coverage during the 2012 season. Additional UNC games will be webcast including the September 30 game against Miami on GoHeelsTV.
Here are details of the telecasting/webcasting schedule for women's soccer:
Friday, August 24 vs. Florida at Fetzer Field, Chapel Hill, N.C. (ESPN3)
Thursday, September 20 vs. Virginia Tech at Fetzer Field, Chapel Hill, N.C. (ESPN3)
Thursday, September 27 vs. Florida State at Fetzer Field, Chapel Hill, N.C. (ESPN3)
Thursday, October 4 vs. Boston College at Fetzer Field, Chapel Hill, N.C. (RSN)
Thursday, October 18 at Duke, Durham, N.C. (ACCDN on You Tube)
Sunday, October 21 vs. Wake Forest at Fetzer Field, Chapel Hill, N.C. (ESPN3)
Thursday, October 25 at NC State, Raleigh, N.C. (ESPN3)
EIGHT UNC WOMEN'S SOCCER GAMES TO BE BROADCAST ON WCHL: Eight of the University of North Carolina's 16 regular-season women's soccer matches in 2012 are being broadcast live on WCHL Radio (97.9 FM) in Chapel Hill this season. The announcement was made by WCHL CEO Barry Leffler and UNC Associate Athletic Director Rick Steinbacher this past summer.
This will mark the third successive year that WCHL is broadcasting UNC women's soccer games. The eight-game broadcast schedule is the largest yet announced by the station. All games will be simulcast on WCHL AM (1360) and WCHL FM (97.9. Five of UNC's seven home matches will be broadcast as well as three road games. The complete broadcast schedule includes:
Sun., Sept. 9, vs. San Diego at Duke Nike Classic, Durham, N.C., 11 a.m.
Thurs., Sept. 20, vs. Virginia Tech at Fetzer Field, 7 p.m.
Thurs., Sept. 27 vs. Florida State at Fetzer Field, 7 p.m.
Sun., Sept. 30 vs. Miami at Fetzer Field, 1 p.m.
Thurs., Oct. 4 vs. Boston College at Fetzer Field, 7 p.m.
Thurs., Oct. 18 at Duke, 7 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 21 vs. Wake Forest at Fetzer Field, 1 p.m.
Thurs., Oct. 25 at NC State, 7 p.m.
HAMM NAMED TOP FEMALE ATHLETE OF TITLE IX ERA: North Carolina soccer legends Mia Hamm and Kristine Lilly were honored by ESPNW as two of the top 40 female athletes of the Title IX era this past summer. Hamm was named the top athlete of the past 40 years by ESPNW while Lilly ranked 36th on the list of the Top 40.
ESPNW announced its choices to mark the 40th anniversary of Title IX legislation passed by Congress and signed by President Richard Nixon in 1972. Title IX is credited with opening up not only educational opportunities for women but also being the key legislation that led to the rise of women's collegiate sports.
There is no arguing that both Hamm and Lilly were key players in the growth of women's sports. Hamm, from the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., and Lilly, from Wilton, Conn., both arrived at Carolina in the fall of 1989. Collectively they played key roles in the Tar Heels domination of the NCAA and ACC during their collegiate runs. Lilly played on NCAA championship teams in 1989, 1990, 1991 and 1992. Hamm red-shirted in 1991 and was on NCAA title-winning teams in 1989, 1990, 1992 and 1993. They both played roles on teams which posted 103-match unbeaten and 92-game winning streaks. The only loss of their Tar Heel era came at Connecticut in 1990.
COWIE WINS INTERNATIONAL FREESTYLE COMPETITION: Indi Cowie, a freshman on the University of North Carolina women's soccer team, was named the winner of the 2012 FIFA Street vs. Street World Soccer Freestyle champion sponsored by EA Sports. The highly touted freshman forward from Cary, N.C., was one of 13 recruits in Anson Dorrance's class of newcomers that begin play in August 2012.
Cowie entered the competition with the blessing of both Dorrance and assistant coach Chris Ducar, who was the primary recruiter of Cowie when she was in high school. EA Sports ran this year's competition on a global scale. Contestants entered by submitting videos on YouTube.
The online contest was open to both male and female competitors and for the first four weeks public voting helped determine who would advance to the later stages of the competition. The top eight vote getters were advanced on as well as two wild card entries chosen by the EA Sports staff. Four top European soccer players narrowed the field to four with Cowie's video making it to the finals. These players included Jack Wilshere of Arsenal, Xabi Alonso of Real Madrid, Steve Mandanda of Marseille and Bafetimbi Gomis of Lyon.
Cowie was named the winner of the competition with the final judgment being made by Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona, considered by many to be the world's top soccer player.
A TRIO OF INGLORIOUS FIRSTS: As North Carolina seeks to continue its winning streak Friday versus Clemson, the Tar Heels have to own up to a trio of program firsts earlier in the year.
Carolina's 0-1-1 start was the first time it ever went winless in its first two games of a season.
The 1-0 loss at Portland and the 0-0 tie with Florida also marked the first time in Carolina history that the Tar Heels had been shutout in back-to-back games.
That it took 800 games to accomplish either of these rather unwanted milestones is equally amazing.
By starting the ACC season 0-1-1, Carolina was winless through its opening two ACC games for the first time in school history.
Despite those ignominous firsts, the Tar Heels are still No. 6 in the NCAA's first three RPIs of the 2012 season.