Fighting Irish Knock Off Top-Ranked Tar Heels
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Eighth-ranked Notre Dame got an early goal by freshman Morgan Andrews to power the Fighting Irish to a 1-0 victory over top-ranked North Carolina Sunday afternoon before 3,742 fans at Fetzer Field. The loss erased a 10-game winning streak by UNC that dated back to last year.
Andrews scored her fifth goal of the season on a crafty header from the six-yard line off a perfect cross by Brittany Von Rueden. That goal at 21:55 of the match held up despite the fact the Tar Heels outshot Notre Dame 18-5 on the day and had the run of play most of the second half, earning an 11-3 edge in the shot total after intermission
The Tar Heels were also done in by the nature of the sport as a shot by Crystal Dunn at 61:52 hit the bottom of the cross bar, rustled the underside of the top netting and bounced straight down, landing well over the goal line before it was alertly retrieved by Notre Dame goalkeeper Kaela Little. ESPN3 replays showed the ball had clearly crossed the line but neither the referee nor assistant referee on the grandstand side of the field signaled a goal on the bang-bang play.
Carolina had to play through that bad luck and despite numerous opportunities, the Tar Heels would not again put a similar opportunity on goal as Little stood tall and made five saves on the game. Sophomore Hanna Gardner had a pair of shots off set pieces just miss in the final 20 minutes and Kealia Ohai had an opportunity for a game-tying goal go just wide of the right goal post with 1:45 to play in the match.
Despite a 7-2 edge in shots at the half, Carolina was not firing on all cylinders in the first half as the Fighting Irish not only scored, but also created several other dangerous chances that did not result in shots. The Notre Dame defense was well organized throughout the game; forcing the Tar Heels to shoot from distance and clogging up the middle, denying UNC excellent close in opportunities. UNC did get one of those chances in the 44th minute when off a corner kick, Gardner had a shot blocked and Caroline Lindquist's follow up shot was saved off the goal line by Notre Dame's Elizabeth Tucker.
Carolina's #1 standing in all three polls will now go by the wayside after the loss to the Irish. The Heels fall to 7-1 overall and 1-1 in the ACC. Notre Dame improved to 6-1 overall and 2-0 in its maiden season in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The Fighting Irish also continued their mastery of UNC at Fetzer Field where they now hold a 5-2 all-time record against the Tar Heels. Ironically, Carolina has never lost to Notre Dame in South Bend, holding a 3-0-1 mark there. Overall, North Carolina lead the series 14-6-2 but the Irish's six wins are two more than any other opponent possesses against UNC. The Tar Heels are now 750-50-29 all-time.
UNC failed to score a goal for only the 35th time in 829 career matches. This marked the fourth time the Irish have shut out the Tar Heels. Of the last six losses the Tar Heels have suffered at Fetzer Field, five have come by 1-0 scores.
The Tar Heels have little time to regroup as they travel to Florida State and Miami this coming week. UNC will meet the Seminoles Wednesday at 8 p.m. in Tallahassee in a game to be nationally televised on ESPNU. The Tar Heels will then travel to Miami Sunday to meet the Hurricanes in Coral Gables at 1 p.m.Florida State is 6-0-2 this year and 1-0-1 in the ACC after beating Duke 2-1 Sunday in Durham. Carolina is 24-4-2 all-time against the Seminoles but it has lost that last two meetings to FSU, both by 1-0 scores at Fetzer Field. The two teams have split the last six meetings 3-3.