DURHAM, N.C. - Freshman Paige Nielsen scored her first career goal and fellow first-year player Summer Green scored a pair of goals as 14th-ranked North Carolina defeated eighth-ranked Marquette 4-0 in women's soccer action before a crowd of 1,972 fans at Koskinen Stadium. The game was played as part of the 2012 Duke Nike Classic with Duke defeating the University of San Diego in the nightcap 4-1.
Carolina improved to 3-1-1 on the season and the Tar Heels have now won three games in a row. Marquette dropped its first match of the season and is now 3-1-1 on the campaign. The shutout was Carolina's fourth in a row and UNC has not allowed a goal in 557 minutes since surrendering a tally to Portland in the fifth minute of play in the team's season opener on August 17th, a 1-0 loss to the Pilots.
The only negative on the night for the Tar Heels came in the 16th minute when UNC starting defender Caitlin Ball had to leave game with a leg injury. Her status for Sunday's 11 a.m. game against San Diego is yet to be determined.
Carolina outshot the Golden Eagles 15-2 and for the second straight game did not allow a shot in the second half. Last Sunday, UNC outshot Notre Dame 18-3, including a 12-0 margin in the second 45 minutes in the Tar Heels' eventual 1-0 victory over the Fighting Irish. The Tar Heels also led in corner kicks on Friday night 5-0.
The Tar Heels got what would prove to be the eventual game-winning goal in the sixth minute of play on a set piece. After a foul by Marquette, UNC junior midfielder Meg Morris sent a long service from the Heels' side of midfield that was flicked on by the head of UNC senior Amber Brooks at the top of the penalty area. Tar Heel freshman Paige Nielsen timed her run perfectly and she ran on to Brooks' flick and buried a one-timer into the back of the net at the 5:34 mark. It was Nielsen's first career goal.
Carolina almost made the score 2-0 just a few minutes later when Meg Morris made a strong run from midfield into the box on the right side. Her shot was saved at close range by Marquette goalkeeper Sofie Schunk, who deflected the ball off the bottom of the crossbar and gobbled it up before it went across the line. Marquette's only shot on goal in the game came in the 13th minute as Maegan Kelly's volley from the left side of the box was smothered by UNC starting goalkeeper Adelaide Gay.
The Tar Heels outshot Marquette 6-2 in the first half. UNC freshman Kat Nigro had a good shot to make it 2-0 in the 37th minute but her shot from the right side of the penalty area flew just wide to the left side.
The second half became the Summer Green show for North Carolina as the freshman striker quickly gave the Tar Heels an insurmountable 3-0 lead. Less than a minute into the second half, Tar Heel midfielder Kelly McFarlane intercepted a Marquette defensive clearance and chased the ball down in the right corner. She centered the ball into the box where both teams pinged it around before it squirted out to the top of the 18-yard box. Green took control with her back to the goal, pivoted and then sent a shot from 20-yards out over Schunk's outstretched hands. It was Green's second goal of the season.
In the 51st minute, Green hit the cross bar with a tough angle shot from the left side of the box, but she converted less than seven minutes later for her second score of the game. After Ranee Premji intercepted a ball at the top of the box, Green broke through the defense, taking a nifty feed from Premji and tucked the ball into the right corner from eight yards out.
Carolina finished up the scoring at the 70:40 mark as Amber Brooks scored on a penalty kick. Sophomore Brooke Elby set up the goal by making a strong run down the left side before being upended by a Marquette defender inside the penalty area. Marquette reserve goalkeeper Amanda Engel, who came on with 27:35 to play, guessed correctly on Brooks' shot, getting her fingertips on it but the ball banged off the right post and in for the score.
UNC's defense took care of things the rest of the way in notching the Tar Heels' fourth successive shutout. UNC head coach Anson Dorrance was able to play a full roster with 22 players seeing a minimum of 15 minutes of action. Three Tar Heel goalkeepers shared the shutout with Adelaide Gay going 45 minutes, Anna Sieloff 28:40 and Hannah Daly 16:20. Sofie Schunk started in goal for Marquette and made four saves while allowing three goals in 62:25. Amanda Engel went the last 27:35 and made two saves while allowing Brooks' penalty kick goal.The Tar Heels will be back in action Sunday at 11 a.m. at the Duke Nike Classic at Koskinen Stadium when they will play the University of San Diego Toreros (3-4).