NOTRE DAME, IND. - Senior Maria Lubrano scored with less than six minutes to play Sunday afternoon to lift 19th-ranked North Carolina to a 1-0 victory over Notre Dame at Alumni Stadium before a crowd of 1,925. The victory gave the Tar Heels the team title of the 2012 Notre Dame adidas Invitational. This marks the third time Carolina has won the tournament title. It also won the championship in 1999 and 2009.
Freshman forward Summer Green was named the tournament's Offensive Most Valuable Player after she had a goal and two assists in weekend wins over Connecticut 2-0 and the Fighting Irish 1-0. Senior midfielder Amber Brooks won Defensive Most Valuable Player honors in leading Carolina to a pair of shutout wins. The Tar Heels have now posted clean sheets in succession against Florida, Connecticut and Notre Dame. Andi Tostanoski of Santa Clara was named the winner of the Golden Glove as the tournament's outstanding goalkeeper. She had nine saves in the earlier game on Sunday as Santa Clara and Connecticut battled to a 1-1 tie after two overtime periods.
The Tar Heels dominated Sunday's game statistically, outshooting the Fighting Irish 18-3, including a 12-0 margin in the second half of the game. Elyse Hight made seven saves in goal to keep the Tar Heels at bay until the game's 85th minute when Maria Lubrano finished a brilliant service by Green, going top shelf from the six-yard line past a helpless Hight. Brooke Elby, who scored the insurance goal in Friday's win over UConn, sent a through ball to Green, who dribbled past a pair of defenders to the end line, gingerly keeping the ball in play before sending the finishing touch to the onrushing Lubrano, who had barely missed on a golden chance four minutes prior to the Tar Heel goal.
The Tar Heels then buckled down on defense and ran out the clock to improve to 2-1-1 on the campaign. The Fighting Irish saw their three-game winning streak stopped and fell to 3-2.
UNC limited Notre Dame to three shots in the game, none of which were on goal. The Tar Heels also finished with a 6-2 edge in corner kicks.
Carolina had the best opportunity to score in the opening half. Summer Green's shot from close range hit the left post in just the second minute of the contest. Then in the 20th minute Green had another excellent opportunity as her shot was headed into the upper left corner before Elyse Hight knocked it over the bar for a corner kick. The best Fighting Irish chance of the game came at the 40:28 mark of the first half when Elizabeth Tucker broke open in the box before her shot was snuffed out at the last second by UNC defender Satara Murray.
Neither team had a shot in the first 10 minutes of the second half before the Tar Heels started to control the run of play. Meg Morris had successive shots that were saved by Hight in the 56th and 57th minutes. A little over a minute later, Alyssa Rich had a nice shot on a half volley that Hight grabbed out of the air at the 57:37 mark. In the 65th minute, Paige Nielsen had a shot from the right side of the box that Hight made a diving save on. Lubrano almost gave the Tar Heels the lead in the 81st minute when she took a pass from Green and pivoted in the box but sent her volley into the side of the net from eight yards. Just minutes later, however, Lubrano finished off the scoring chance to lift the Tar Heels to their second successive win over the Fighting Irish. UNC remained unbeaten against the Irish in South Bend, with only a tie in the 1997 game marring the Tar Heel ledger in Indiana. Carolina is now 14-5-2 all-time against Notre Dame.
The complete All-Tournament Team included:
Offensive MVP - Summer Green (NC)
Defensive MVP - Amber Brooks (NC)
Goalkeeper MVP (Golden Glove) - Andi Tostanoski (SCU)
Amber Brooks (NC)
Summer Green (NC)
Elyse Hight (ND)
Satara Murray (NC)
Ranee Premji (NC)
Danielle Schulmann (UConn)
Sammy Scofield (ND)
Meleana Shim (SCU)
Andi Tostanoski (SCU)
Allie Vernon (SCU)
Glory Williams (ND)UNC will return to the pitch next Friday when it plays Marquette in the 2012 Duke Nike Classic at Koskinen Stadium in Durham, N.C. Game time is 5 p.m. Duke will play San Diego at 7:30 p.m. The opponents are switched next Sunday as Carolina meets San Diego at 11 a.m. and Duke plays Marquette at 1:30 p.m.