Ohai's Overtime Goal Lifts Tar Heels Past Demon Deacons

Ohai's Overtime Goal Lifts Tar Heels Past Demon Deacons

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -  Fifth-ranked North Carolina had to come from behind Sunday afternoon to defeat #22 Wake Forest 2-1 in overtime at W. Dennis Spry Stadium in ACC women's soccer action.  The Tar Heels got the winning goal from Kealia Ohai in the 98th minute for the margin of victory.  She was assisted on the game-winner by freshman Amber Munerlyn.

UNC improved to 15-3 on the season and 9-3 in the ACC. with the victory.  Wake Forest fell to 10-5-2 and 5-5-2 in the ACC with the loss.

Carolina clinched a home field advantage in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals with the win.  The quarterfinals will be at campus sites next Sunday and Virginia, Florida State, Virginia Tech and North Carolina have clinched Top 4 seeds and home fields for that round.  Virginia has clinched the #1 seed in the upcoming ACC Tournament but seeds #2-#8 are still very much up in the air heading into the final day of play on Thursday.

UNC outshot the Demon Deacons 19-3 and had a 9-1 edge in corner kicks but it took Ohai's overtime goal to allow the Tar Heels to escape Winston-Salem with their first win over the Demon Deacons since October 31, 2010 when the Heels won 2-0 at Spry Stadium.  In the past three meetings, Carolina had been 0-1-2 against the Deacs.

Senior midfielder Crystal Dunn had Carolina's other goal, tying the game in the 51st minute of play off an assist by Summer Green.

The Tar Heels had the run of play in the early going, notching the first four shots of the game, including a shot from a tough angle by Ohai in the 14th minute that Aubrey Bledsoe had to make a diving save on.

Nevertheless, it was Wake Forest that took the lead on its first shot of the game on a brilliant strike by Riley Ridgik in the 28th minute of action. Ridgik picked the pocket of a UNC defender, took one dribble and howitzered a shot into the upper left 90 of the frame from 25 yards out. North Carolina goalkeeper Bryane Heaberlin did her best to get to the ball but the bang-bang nature of the play gave Ridgik just enough time and space to bury the shot in a corner where it could not be saved.

The Tar Heels had a couple of decent chances at tying the game before halftime but Caroline Lindquist's try off a corner kick went just high 38 minutes in and Alexa Newfield's strike from distance was smothered by Bledsoe, who had six saves in the game altogether, in the 41st minute.

UNC finished the opening 45 minutes with a 7-1 edge in shots and a 4-0 advantage in corner kicks.

The second half was a different story, however.  UNC came out of the locker room on fire and Dunn almost notched the equalizer at 47:54 when her shot beat Bledsoe but clanged off the cross bar.  Three minutes and two seconds later Dunn would not miss.

Carolina got the equalizer at 50:56 as Summer Green beat her defender on the left end line and centered to Crystal Dunn who was alone near the penalty spot to put away the tying goal.  It was Dunn's team-leading 12th goal of the season.

Despite an eventual 11-2 edge in shots in the second half, UNC was unable to gain the game-winner.  Bledsoe made four second half saves and was under constant pressure in the second half.

Wake Forest did have its chances, however.  In the 75th minute Wake earned its only corner kick of the game and nearly scored off of it but Megan Curran's redirect off Ridgik's corner kick went wide right.  With less than two minutes remaining, Carolina committed a foul near midfield and Wake served the ball into the box where it bounced around before Ridgik's shot that was headed inside the right post was smothered by Anna Sieloff, who played the second half and overtime in goal for UNC.

For the first time all year, Carolina went to overtime.  Neither team got a shot off in the first seven minutes.  That changed at 97:14 when Ohai notched her eighth goal of the season.  Amber Munerlyn did the lion's share of the work on the goal, keeping control at midfield by trapping a ball that appeared to be headed out of bounds.  Munerlyn carried the ball deep into the left side of the box.  It was briefly touched away by a Wake defender but Munerlyn regained possession and sent a perfect pass to Ohai in stride who finished from four yards out just inside the left post.

UNC will play host to Duke (8-6-4, ACC 5-4-3) Thursday at 7 p.m. in the final regular-season home game for the Tar Heels.  The Blue Devils are one of the hottest teams in the ACC, having won three matches in a row, including a 6-3 dismantling of Pittsburgh on Sunday afternoon.

Special Halloween parking will be available for soccer fans for Thursday night's game.  Please check back later in the week for details on GoHeels.com or check on the UNC Department of Public Safety's website.

ACC Standings

Virginia 33, Florida State 29, Virginia Tech 28, North Carolina 27, Notre Dame 22, Duke 18, Wake Forest 17, Boston College 16, Maryland 15, Clemson 14, Miami 10, Syracuse 10, NC State 3, Pittsburgh 0

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