CAROLINA HEADS WEST TO MEET COUGARS IN NCAA QUARTERFINALS: North Carolina (12-5-3) hits the road this week to meet third-ranked Brigham Young University in the quarterfinals of the 2012 NCAA Tournament at South Field in Provo, Utah. The game will be played on Friday, November 23 and will have a 6 p.m. MDT (8 p.m. EDT) start time.
North Carolina is the #2 seed in the lower left quadrant of the NCAA Division I Tournament bracket while the Cougars of the West Coast Conference are the #1 seed in the bracket.
UNC is ranked #14 in the final Soccer America poll while BYU finished third in the final Soccer America ranking. The Cougars are 20-1-2 and have not lost since August when they fell 1-0 at Utah. The only other blemishes on the Cougars' record are ties with Santa Clara and Marquette.
The game will be nationally televised on BYUtvSports.
NCAA QUARTERFINAL MATCHUPS: Four NCAA Tournament quarterfinal games will be played Friday with the four winners advancing to the 2012 NCAA College Cup in San Diego, Calif. Semifinal games will be played on Friday, November 30 at Torero Stadium in San Diego and the national championship game is tentatively scheduled for Sunday, December 2.
In addition to UNC at BYU, other quarterfinal games on Friday feature #3 seed UCLA at #1 seed Stanford, unseeded Notre Dame at #1 seed Florida State and #3 seed Duke at #1 seed Penn State.
SO FAR IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT: North Carolina and BYU have both advanced in the NCAA Tournament by winning first and second round games and then advancing on penalty kicks in the third round.
UNC beat Radford 2-0 in the first round and Illinois 9-2 in the second round before battling to a 1-1 tie with Baylor in the third round. The Tar Heels advanced on penalty kicks against the ninth-ranked Bears by a 4-2 count.
BYU beat Utah State 2-1 in the first round and Auburn 1-0 in the second round before advancing in the NCAA third round against Marquette. The Cougars and the Golden Eagles fought to a scoreless tie after two overtimes. The Cougars advanced on penaty kicks 6-5.
A RARE PENALTY KICK WIN FOR THE TAR HEELS: When North Carolina advanced past Baylor in the NCAA third round, it marked the first time in history that Carolina had won a penalty kick shootout in NCAA Tournament play and only the second time the Tar Heels had advanced on penalty kicks in any setting.
After playing to a 1-1 overtime tie with Baylor, UNC prevailed 4-2 on penalty kicks. Successful penalty takers for UNC included Maria Lubrano, Alyssa Rich, Kelly McFarlane and Katie Bowen.
UNC had lost two previous NCAA Tournament shootouts. The Heels fell to Florida State 5-4 in the 2005 NCAA quarterfinals and 5-4 to UCF in the 2011 NCAA third round.
The Tar Heels had also been in four ACC Tournament penalty kick shooutouts, going 1-3.
ANOTHER NCAA BID: This marks UNC's 31st successive bid to the NCAA Tournament. Carolina is the only team in the nation to make the tournament field all 31 years of the Tournament's existence. The Tar Heels have advanced to at least the third round in every NCAA Tournament ever played. They kept that streak alive with a win over Illinois on Friday, November 16.
UNC has advanced to the Round of 16 or beyond in every NCAA Tournament ever played. Each of the previous two years, however, it was the third round game that has tripped UNC up. Carolina's last quarterfinals appearance was in 2009 against Wake Forest.
Carolina's game Friday at BYU will mark the 27th time in school history that the Tar Heels have played in the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals. Friday will mark UNC's first ever road game in the Round of 8 in NCAA history. The Tar Heels have played all 26 previous quarterfinal games in Chapel Hill.
NINE GOALS VERUS ILLINOIS: Carolina exploded for nine goals in its second round NCAA Tournament victory over Illinois on November 16. The nine goals were the most scored in a game by UNC since it defeated Guilford 9-0 on September 6, 2002. The last time UNC had scored nine goals against an NCAA Division I opponent was September 21, 2001 in a 9-0 win over Georgia. The nine goals scored by Carolina matched its high scoring output in an NCAA Tournament game. The last time UNC had scored nine goals in an NCAA game was November 21, 1996 in a 9-0 win over Florida in the quarterfinals. The nine goals were one short of the NCAA Tournament record of 10 set by Texas A&M against Texas State in 2004.
UNC's NCAA TOURNAMENT RECORD: Carolina has an all-time NCAA Tournament record of 112-8-3. The Tar Heels have won 20 of the previous 30 NCAA Tournament championships. Carolina's last title came in 2009 when it defeated Stanford 1-0 in College Station, Texas.
Carolina has lost only eight NCAA Tournament games in history and has made at least the Round of 16 in each of the 31 tournaments. The Tar Heels had been eliminated in the Round of 16 in each of the past two tournaments. They lost to Notre Dame at Fetzer Field 4-1 in the third round in 2010 and tied UCF in last year's third round 1-1. UCF advanced to the quarterfinals on penalty kicks 5-4.
Friday's match with BYU will be the first ever meeting between the two teams, either in a regular season game or an NCAA Tournament match.
FINAL REGULAR SEASON RANKINGS FOR THE TAR HEELS: UNC was ranked 14th in the Soccer America poll and 13th in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll heading into NCAA Tournament play.
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: North Carolina finished 10th in the final RPI report from the NCAA which was issued on November 5, 2012. On paper that would indicate the Tar Heels would be worthy of a #3 seed in the tournament. Instead, Carolina was elevated to a #2 seed by the NCAA Women's Soccer Committee.
It would appear likely that the Tar Heels benefitted greatly from its strength of schedule. UNC's 20-game schedule has featured a Who's Who of the top levels of the RPI. This included two games against #7 Virginia as well as single games against #5 Florida State, #8 Florida, #9 Baylor, #13 Marquette, #14 Duke, #16 Wake Forest, #19 Portland, #21 Notre Dame, #23 Boston College, #25 Maryland, #30 Virginia Tech, #44 Illinois and #50 Miami. UNC also played #67 San Diego, #69 Connecticut and #85 Radford.
Thirteen of UNC's 19 games so far are against teams ranked in the Top 30 of the RPI.
BYU is ranked #4 in the RPI and will be the highest ranked RPI team to face the Tar Heels this season when the teams meet Friday.