CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Sixth-ranked North Carolina came off a 10-day hiatus from action and gave up an early goal but rallied past Maryland 3-1 in women's soccer action Sunday afternoon at Fetzer Field. Three different Tar Heel players scored goals in front of a crowd of 1,742 and a nationally syndicated TV audience on the ACC's Regional Sports Network.
Carolina has now won three straight games since back-to-back losses in mid-September. UNC is now 10-2 overall and 4-2 in the ACC. Carolina has already equaled its regular-season win total from a year ago. Maryland fell to 7-6 overall on the season and 3-4 in the ACC.
The Tar Heels outshot the Terrapins 19-4 on the day and had a 9-2 edge in shots on goal. UNC also had the majority of the corner kicks, taking eight as compared to three for the Terps.
Rachelle Beanlands played the whole way for Maryland in goal and made five saves. UNC's Bryane Heaberlin and Anna Sieloff split duties in the goal for the Tar Heels. Sieloff registered the only save of the game for the home side.
The Terps struck quickly, notching a goal just 17 seconds into the match. Maryland's leading scorer, Hayley Brock, dispossessed a UNC defender in the far right corner of the pitch and then fed a perfect ball into the center of the penalty area where Lauren Berman one-timed it on a rope into the lower left corner of the frame from 12 yards out. The only time Carolina has surrendered a quicker goal at the start of a match was December 7, 2008 when Notre Dame scored 16 seconds into the NCAA championship game at Cary, N.C. The Tar Heels rallied to win that game 2-1 with two second-half goals from Casey Nogueira.
The early goal by the Terps knocked Carolina on its heels and shocked the large crowd but UNC would fight back and dominate the remainder of the first half.
Carolina almost evened things up when Kealia Ohai sent a shot from the top of the box off a corner kick in the 12th minute which was headed for the back of the net but a Maryland defender was there just inside the left post to volley the ball away, earning a team save. Carolina kept the pressure up and a shot by Crystal Dunn in the 21st minute resulted in a handball in the box by a Terp defender. UNC's Summer Green stepped to the 12-yard mark and sent her penalty kick into the left side of the goal to tie the game at 1-1 at the 20:10 mark. It was Green's fourth goal of the campaign.
The best chance for either team to score the rest of the first half came at 32:17 when Kealia Ohai tried to one-time a shot from eight yards out past Beanlands who was able to knock it away and keep the game tied.
Beanlands made two terrific saves in the opening minutes of the second half to keep the game deadlocked. She denied Kelly McFarlane off a corner kick by Katie Bowen, diving to her left to keep the ball from going inside the right post 2:04 into the second half. A little over a minute later, Crystal Dunn had a shot from 20 yards out that appeared to be headed into the top shelf before Beanlands knocked it over the bar for a corner kick.
The game's momentum then shifted in the 57th minute of play when the Terps were able to spring Riley Barger free past the UNC defense but her shot from 12 yards out in the right side of the box was gobbled up by Anna Sieloff. Just 58 seconds later, the Heels made the Terps pay for that missed opportunity as Dunn stripped a defender of the ball, dribbled into the left side of the box and fed a perfect ball to Ohai. The senior forward was composed with her touch and sent it past Beanlands into the right side of the goal for her sixth tally of the season. The goal officially came at 57:57.
With 23 minutes to play, UNC defender Hanna Gardner thwarted a potential breakaway by the Terps' Brock, shielding her off from the ball as the two raced shoulder-to-shoulder through the penalty area to earn a goal kick for Carolina. The Tar Heels then got the insurance goal with 17:55 left in the match as Satara Murray scored her first goal of the season and the second of her career. Murray headed home a corner kick by Paige Nielsen, beating Beanlands and the Terp defense to the ball. It was just UNC's second goal off a corner kick this season, the other being a game winner by Caroline Lindquist in a 2-1 win over New Mexico on August 30. Murray's only other career goal came in last year's 4-1 national championship game victory over Penn State.
The Terps had one final dangerous chance, again generated by Brock, with 14 minutes to play but the Tar Heel defense had enough time to organize and shut it down before Brock could get off the shot.
The Tar Heels' win was its first over the Terrapins since Carolina beat Maryland 1-0 on November 21, 2009 in an NCAA Tournament third round game at Fetzer Field on a late goal by Casey Nogueira. The Terps had won the regular season meetings in 2010 (Chapel Hill) and 2011 and 2012 (both College Park) by 2-1 scores. In both 2010 and 2011, the Terps spotted Carolina a 1-0 lead and came back to win. Maryland is one of only three programs to have recorded three straight wins over the Heels, the others being Santa Clara and Florida State. The Terps were the first ACC team to ever beat Carolina three times in a row.
The Tar Heels return to the pitch on Thursday when they play host to NC State at 7 p.m. at Fetzer Field. Tickets are $5 general admission and can be purchased now at the Ticket Center on GoHeels.com. UNC faculty, staff and students will be admitted free with their UNC One Cards.Thursday's game will be televised live on ESPN3 and WatchESPN and also broadcast live on WCHL (97.9 FM/1360 AM/Chapelboro.com).