CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Junior midfielder Crystal Dunn scored the game-tying goal in the 82nd minute to send the game to overtime and 14th-ranked North Carolina prevailed on penalty kicks 4-2 against ninth-ranked Baylor in the NCAA Women's Soccer Tournament third round Sunday afternoon at Fetzer Field.
The Tar Heels, now 12-5-3 on the season, advance to the NCAA quarterfinals for the first time since 2009 and will play Friday at third-ranked BYU (20-1-2) Friday at South Stadium in Provo, Utah. Big 12 Conference champion Baylor saw it season end at 19-1-5. Sunday's game officially goes down as a tie. The Bears ended the season on a 21-match unbeaten streak with its only loss coming at Long Beach State 2-1 on August 26.
It was Baylor's defense which dominated much of Sunday's game, played under cloudy skies with 52 degree temperatures. The Bears limited the Tar Heels to three total shots, none on goal, in the first 81 plus minutes of play before Dunn worked her magic for the game-tying goal with 8:21 left in regulation time. It was Dunn's third goal of the season and she has scored in each of Carolina's NCAA Tournament games.
Neither team could gain any traction in the first half before the Bears broke through for the first score with 35 seconds left in the first half. The Tar Heels inadvertently cleared a back pass from the defense over the goal line, setting up a corner kick for Baylor. The tall and athletic Bears are well known for their set pieces and they capitalized. After Bri Campos sent the corner kick into the box from the left side, the Tar Heels tried to clear the ball out but. Meg Morris' clearance, however, was claimed by Campos and she flick it back in to Lisa Sliwinski who redirected the ball back post for a 1-0 lead. It was the 10th goal of the year for Sliwinski.
The Bears had at least three good opportunities in the second half to boost its lead to 2-0 but Hanna Gilmore hit the right post at 46:53, Lisa Sliwisnki's header from the three-yard line went inches wide left at 55:07 and Bri Campos hit the right post at 64:05.
Granted a reprieve and still lacking a shot on goal, The tar Heels stayed in the game before one of their premier players eventually made the play to tie the game. Dunn controlled the ball on the right side, dribbled across the top of the frame and deked a defender who fell to the ground trying to keep up with her. Dunn sent a left-footed shot with pace to the far post as she slid it under Baylor goalkeeper Michelle Kloss for the tying tally.
UNC goalkeeper Adelaide Gay had to make a sliding save on a shot by Sliwinski at the 84:30 mark to keep the game tied. Sliwinski slipped behind the UNC defense but Gay came out and took the shot off her stomach and the Tar Heel defense cleared the ball away.
The two overtime periods, especially the second, proved to be all Carolina. At 95:18, Kloss made her only save of the game and it was a huge one. Dunn centered a ball from the right side of the box to Kealia Ohai who was one-on-one with Kloss. The Baylor keeper knocked the ball away at the last second for a corner kick.
In the second overtime period UNC outshot the Bears 6-1. Dunn had two excellent chances to end the game in the second golden goal period but just missed wide at 103:48 and again at 108:21.
The game would end 1-1, extending UNC's frustrating record in overtime to 0-4-5 in the last nine matches that went extra time.
A year ago, UNC had been eliminated by UCF in the NCAA third round on penalty kicks 5-4 but this time the story was different. In fact, in its long history, Carolina had gone to penalty kicks only six previous times and was 0-2 in NCAA play (2005 quarterfinals versus Florida State and 2011 third round versus UCF) and 1-3 in ACC Tournament play.
Carolina was the more confident team in penalties this time as UNC played in a PK shootout for only the second time in history at Fetzer Field. Kloss remained in goal for Baylor while UNC head coach Anson Dorrance replaced starter Adelaide Gay with freshman Bryan Heaberlin, the starting goalkeeper on the U.S. U20 Team which won the World Cup championship in September in Japan.
The Tar Heels shot first in the penalty kick shootout. All four UNC penalties were stuck with confidence and Kloss had no opportunity to save any of them. The UNC order included redshirt senior Maria Lubrano, senior Alyssa Rich, junior Kelly McFarlane and freshman Katie Bowen. The first two Baylor penalties by Michelle Hage and Larissa Campos found the back of the net but Bri Campos missed wide right on the third try and Karlee Summey missed wide left on the fourth try, ending the shootout.The Tar Heels finished the game with a 13-9 edge in shots and a 5-4 edge in corner kicks. Carolina will play in the quarterfinals for the first time since beating Wake Forest 5-2 in the 2009 quarterfinals on Fetzer Field. This will be the first time in 31 NCAA Tournament apperances that the Tar Heels will be an NCAA quarterfinal game on the road.