On Senior Night for the Wolfpack at Dail Soccer Stadium, the Tar Heels need a decisive win to attain a Top 4 Atlantic Coast Conference finish and a home field for the quarterfinals in the 2012 ACC Tournament which begins Sunday.
Carolina needs to bounce back from a disappointing result against Wake Forest last Sunday as the Demon Deacons ruined UNC’s Senior Day Celebration by beating the Tar Heels 2-1, the first win by Wake Forest over Carolina since 2000.
NC State will be looking for its first ACC win of the season. The Wolfpack is 0-9 in the conference going into the game. Carolina needs a victory to match its 6-3-1 record in the ACC from 2011.
Florida State has clinched the ACC regular season championship with 24 points at the start of the week’s action. Wake Forest and Maryland were tied for second at the start of the week with 19 points while Duke was fourth with 17. UNC and Virginia started the week tied for fifth place with 16 points followed by Boston College with 13, Miami with 11 and Virginia Tech with 10.
THE BASICS OF THE NC STATE MATCHUP: The Tar Heels enter the match against NC State with a record of 9-4-2 overall, including a 5-3-1 mark in the ACC. The Wolfpack come into the match at 5-13-0 overall and 0-9-0 in the ACC. Both teams are playing their regular-season finales on Thursday.
Both teams are coming off losses. UNC fell at home against Wake Forest 2-1 on Sunday while NC State lost at Clemson 1-0.
The Tar Heels are ranked in the Top 10 of both major national soccer polls. North Carolina is eighth in the Soccer America poll and eighth in the NSCAA poll.
BROADCAST INFORMATION FOR BOTH GAMES: Unprecented coverage of North Carolina women soccer continues this Thursday as the UNC-NC State game will be televised on ESPN3 as well as broadcast on WCHL Radio.
Links for both the webcast and the WCHL broadcast can be found on GoHeels.com.
Adam Moore will be the play by play announcer for Thursday’s game while Andrew Sanders will be the color analyst.
Fans can also log on to WatchESPN on the web or their smart phones and watch the game.
The game will also be broadcast live on WCHL FM/AM in Chapel Hill, N.C. (97.9 FM/1360 AM). Paul Connell will serve as the play by play announcer and Hampton Dellinger will be the analyst.
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.
Five wins in the past seven games have have moved UNC into a tie for fifth place in the ACC standings with Virginia.
Going into action on Wednesday, Florida State leads the ACC standings with 24 points followed by Maryland and Wake Forest with 19 points and Duke with 17 points. North Carolina and Virginia are tied for fifth with 16 points, while Boston College is seventh with 13 points. Miami has 11 points and Virginia Tech 10 points for the eighth and ninth places in the ACC standings.
If the Tar Heels are to gain a final Top 4 spot in the league standings and with it a home game in the ACC quarterfinals, they need a win over NC State on Thursday coupled with a loss or tie by Virginia against Boston College on Thursday. If both Carolina and Virginia win on Thursday the seedings will be determined by tiebreaker procedures administered by the ACC office.
THIS WEEK IN THE RANKINGS: UNC is now eighth in the Soccer America poll and eighth in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll.
This ranking matches the highest rating for Carolina this year in the NSCAA poll (8th in the preseason). Carolina has been ranked as high as fourth in the Soccer America poll.
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.
THE NCAA RPI: The NCAA announced the fifth RPI of the 2012 season Tuesday and North Carolina is in the Top 10 for the fourth straight week at No. 7. Stanford leads the RPI followed by Florida State, UCLA, Penn State, BYU and San Diego State. Carolina has already played games against #2 Florida State, #9 Florida, #10 Wake Forest, #13 Virginia, #14 Duke, #20 Boston College, #22 Notre Dame, #24 Portland, #27 Marquette, #34 Maryland, #35 Virginia Tech, #54 Miami, #67 San Diego and #78 Connecticut
Of UNC’s 16 regular-season matches the only opponents not currently in the RPI Top 100 are Clemson at #109 and North Carolina State at #173.
UNC VERSUS NC STATE: North Carolina leads the all-time series with NC State 40-1-2. The series began in 1985. UNC has won 11 in a row against the Wolfpack since suffering a 2-1 loss in the 2002 regular-season meeting.
In last year’s regular season meeting in Chapel Hill the Wolfpack got on the board in the 15th minute of play but the Tar Heels rallied with five goals to prevail 5-1. The last meeting in Raleigh resulted in a Tar Heel 3-0 win over the Wolfpack in 2011.