CHAPEL HILL - Third-seeded North Carolina scored three times in the first minute of the game, pouncing on unseeded Virginia and winning, 13-9, in the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon at Fetzer Field. With the victory, Carolina (16-3) advances to the NCAA semifinals for the fourth time in the last five seasons.
Carolina jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first three and a half minutes, led 10-2 at halftime and won despite five consecutive Virginia goals in the final 16 minutes of the game that made the final score 13-9 after UNC had built a commanding, 13-4 lead.
The Tar Heels got five goals and six total points from Abbey Friend in the game, tying her career highs in both categories. She also had six points in last weekend's NCAA second round win over Loyola. UNC also got three goals, two assists and five ground balls from Kara Cannizzaro. Emily Garrity had a fine all-around game, controlling a career-high seven draws, forcing three turnovers and scoring twice.
Kelly Boyd scored three times to lead Virginia. Ashlee Warner and Casey Bocklet both had a goal and two assists for the Cavaliers, who also got two goals each from Courtney Swan and Liza Blue.
UNC has won eight games in a row over Virginia and 10 of the last 11 installments in the series. The Tar Heels are 6-1 in NCAA Tournament play against the Cavaliers. Carolina has beaten UVa in the NCAA Tournament four times in the last six seasons (2008, 2010, 2011, 2013).
The Tar Heels will be making their seventh appearance in the NCAA semifinals. (1997, 1998, 2002, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012), all under head coach Jenny Levy.
"Obviously, we're very excited," Levy said afterward. "Every program in the country wants to play on the last weekend with the opportunity to advance and play for the national championship. I thought the key to the game was how we started. I looked up and we were up by three goals less than a minute into the game.
"The second half was really sloppy for us," Levy continued. "We had some chances to widen the lead but didn't, so credit their goalie [Kim Kolarik] for making some big saves. I also thought Emily Garrity was a key today for us. She had seven draw controls, three caused turnovers and two goals, which is great."
Kolarik played all 60 minutes in the cage for Virginia and finished with five saves. UNC freshman Megan Ward (5-2) started her fifth consecutive game, playing all 60 minutes and recording seven saves.
Carolina improved to 7-7 all-time in NCAA Tournament quarterfinal games, winning its fourth quarterfinal in its last five tries. UNC also improved to 15-1 at home in NCAA Tournament play and has won 14 home NCAA games in a row.
The start of the game was delayed for 15 minutes for field maintenance after a heavy rain.
Carolina dominated the draw all day, controlling 16 to Virginia's eight overall. Earlier this season on March 9, UVa won 12 of 17 draws to keep the score close throughout an 8-7 Tar Heel victory.
UNC scored 10 first-half goals on 10 shots, finishing with 13 goals on 24 shots on the day. UNC also won 23 ground balls to Virginia's 18. The two teams combined for 50 fouls, 30 by the Cavs.
The Tar Heels will return to action next Friday (May 24) at 5 p.m. in the NCAA semifinals against No. 2 seed Northwestern, which beat Penn State on Saturday night. Carolna beat the Wildcats, 11-8, earlier this season on Feb. 22 in Chapel Hill.