CLEMSON, S.C. - Sixth-year senior Maria Lubrano had the first multi-goal game of her career and Hanna Gardner tallied the first goal of her career as seventh-ranked North Carolina defeated Clemson 4-0 in women's soccer action Friday night at Historic Riggs Field. North Carolina senior midfielder Amber Brooks also had a big night for the Tar Heels with a goal and two assists.
North Carolina has won three games in a row and improved to 8-3-2 on the season and 4-2-1 in the ACC with this victory. The Tigers are 5-9-2 overall and 0-8 in the ACC.
It was the second straight solo shutout win for the Tar Heels' starting goalkeeper Adelaide Gay. Carolina has now posted back-to-back shutouts for the first time since recording five in a row in non-conference play early in the season.
Goals by Hanna Gardner and Amber Brooks had the Tar Heels up 2-0 at the half and Carolina carried that lead well into the second half before Maria Lubrano tallied back-to-back goals in a two-minute span in the 80th and 82nd minutes.
Carolina finished with an 18-4 edge in total shots and a 9-1 edge in shots on goal. Gay went the full 90 minutes in goal for the Heels and Morgan Hert went the whole way in her first start of the season for Clemson, making five saves for the Tigers.
In the first half, the Tar Heels outshot the Tigers 10-2, taking a 2-0 lead at intermission. Carolina's initial goal came at the 20:41 mark as Hanna Gardner tallied her first career goal off assists by Crystal Dunn and Meg Morris. Amber Brooks tallied the second goal of the game for the Tar Heels at 36:50 on a free kick.
After a foul near midfield on the Tigers, Carolina ran a nice play to take the lead in the 21st minute. Meg Morris appeared to be ready to take a free kick into the penalty area but she touched it to Crystal Dunn. The junior defender made a strong run down the left side and from the end line sent a perfect cross to the far post where Hanna Gardner headed it home for her first career goal.
Dunn almost made it 2-0 in the 36th minute as she dribbled from left to right across the face of the top of the box. From 18 yards out she sent a sent a shot to the far post that was knocked down by Clemson goalkeeper Morgan Hart at the last second. Off the ensuing corner kick, the Tigers were whistled for a foul just outside the box on the right side. Amber Brooks stepped up a sent a laser that hit the underside of the cross bar from 22 yards out. The cross bar redirected the ball into the lower left corner for Brooks' fifth tally of the season.
Carolina held on to the tenuous 2-0 lead for most of the second half as both teams were foiled on late runs for scoring chances despite the Tar Heels dominating possession. UNC eventually broke through on a nifty goal by Maria Lubrano at 79:16 of the game set up by freshman forward Summer Green. After Amber Brooks fed Green from the midfield, the freshman pushed to the end line where her cross was redirected off the head of Lubrano into the right corner of the net.
Less than two minutes later, Carolina made it 4-0 on Lubrano's second goal of the game and seventh tally of the season. Amber Brooks threaded a nifty through ball from just inside midfield directly to the feet of Lubrano who got behind the defense on the right side and deftly finished past Hert into the lower left of the frame with 81:06 elapsed.
Lubrano, who missed two complete seasons in 2008 and 2010 because of injuries, received a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA last spring and she has made the most of it. Her seven goals lead the Tar Heels and are three more than she scored in her first three seasons combined.
The Tar Heels return to the state of North Carolina for the final three games of the 2012 season. Carolina will play at fifth-ranked Duke next Thursday at 7 p.m. before playing host to 12th-ranked Wake Forest a week from Sunday in Chapel Hill at 1 p.m. The Heels then close out the regular season at NC State on October 25 at 7 p.m.