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Tar Heels Fall To Top-Ranked Virginia 2-0

Tar Heels Fall To Top-Ranked Virginia 2-0

CHAPEL HILL, N.C.  -   Top-ranked Virginia emerged as the victor as the Cavaliers defeated the fourth-ranked Tar Heels 2-0 Sunday afternoon before 1,621 fans in collegiate women's soccer action. The Cavaliers have now beaten the Tar Heels in each of their past three visits to Fetzer Field.

Virginia has won its first 16 games of the season and is now 10-0 in the ACC as the Cavaliers inch closer to clinching the regular-season championship and the top seed in next month's ACC Tournament.  Both teams played without their leading scorers on Sunday as Virginia's Morgan Brian and North Carolina's Crystal Dunn were called into U.S. National Team duty against Australia in San Antonio, Texas.

North Carolina fell to 13-3 on the season and 7-3 in the ACC.  The Tar Heels need two wins in their final three regular season games to clinch the home field advantage for the ACC Tournament quarterfinals on November 3.  The Tar Heels have games remaining at home against Clemson, at Wake Forest and at home against Duke.

This marked only the second time in the last 690 games the Tar Heels have been beaten by more than a single goal.  It is a streak that began on November 24, 1985 when the Tar Heels lost to George Mason 2-0 in the NCAA championship game.  Since that time Carolina had only lost to Notre Dame 4-1 on November 20, 2010 by a margin greater than a goal until Sunday's loss to the Cavs.

For the second straight game against the Cavaliers, Carolina was unable to score and has now been shutout in three of its past four games against Virginia (16-0, ACC 10-0).  UNC's four shots on Sunday equaled the fewest in a game ever taken by the Tar Heels, matching the four they took against the Cavaliers on October 28, 2012 when the Wahoos took down the Tar Heels 1-0 in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament.

Virginia, which had only six shots of its own, made efficient use of them, scoring goals in both halves.  Just as they did in last year's ACC quarterfinal game, the Tar Heels fell down early to the Cavs in the opening minutes.  Off a throw in, Virginia converted at 12:59 of the match as Brittany Ratcliffe scored her 11th goal of the season, tapping a shot from five yards out just inside the left post past UNC goalkeeper Bryane Heaberlin.  Danielle Colaprico assisted on the goal as she passed the ball to Ratcliffe off a throw in by Molly Menchel who also earned an assist.

Virginia had two more chances to extend the lead in the opening 23 minutes of the game.  At 19:02, Ratcliffe had a point blank shot from 12 yards out as she found herself unmarked in the penalty area but Heaberlin dove to her left and made the save.  At the 24-minute mark, Ratcliffe had another dangerous chance but Hanna Gardner blocked the shot out front after Heaberlin was forced to come out of her box to try to clear a ball out of danger.

The Tar Heels' only shot of the first half came in the 30th minute when Amber Munerlyn pounced on a loose ball, dribbled into the box and shot from 12 yards out but Morgan Stearns, who is now 12-0 on the season as the goalkeeper of record, made the save.

The Tar Heels had somewhat of a territorial advantage in the second half after being outplayed decisively in the first half by the Cavaliers.  But Carolina could not turn that possession advantage into shots.  Gloria Douglas had a good opportunity to make it 2-0 Virginia in the 56th minute but Anna Sieloff made the save for the Tar Heels.  Both teams mustered just three shots in the second half with Alexa Newfield's shot from distance in the 79th minute going wide left.  Virginia eventually got an insurance goal in the 84th minute as it took advantage of UNC pushing numbers forward to try to tie the game.  The Wahoos scored on a breakaway as Emily Sonnett fed Makenzy Doniak for her 12th goal of the season, finishing into the left side netting past Sieloff from 12 yards out.

Next up for the Tar Heels is a home match against Clemson Thursday at 7 p.m. at Fetzer Field.  The game will be webcast on GoHeelsTV and also will be broadcast on WCHL Radio (97.9FM, 1360AM, Chapelboro.com).

Updated ACC Standings Through Sunday's Games

Virginia, 30 Points;  Florida State, 26 Points; Virginia Tech, 25 Points; North Carolina, 21 Points;  Notre Dame, 16 Points;  Clemson & Wake Forest, 14 Points;  Boston College, 13 Points;  Maryland & Duke, 12 Points;  Syracuse & Miami, 10 Points;  NC State, 3 Points;  Pittsburgh, 0 Points.
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