Tar Heels Blank Duke 3-0 In Regular-Season Finale
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Freshman Cameron Castleberry and junior Brooke Elby scored their first goals of the season Thursday night as fourth-ranked North Carolina defeated 25th-ranked Duke in women's soccer action at Fetzer Field.
A Halloween night crowd of 1,222 was on hand to watch the Tar Heels improve to 16-3 overall on the season and 10-3 in the ACC. Duke fell to 8-7-4 on the season and the Blue Devils finish the regular season with a 5-5-3 record in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The Tar Heels, who finished the regular-season with three straight wins, have now exceeded their win total from last year when they won the NCAA championship with a record of 15-5-3.
In a season where the Tar Heels have consistently relied on their stellar senior duo of Crystal Dunn and Kealia Ohai to provide the bulk of the scoring, the Tar Heels got a boost from different sources in their win over the Blue Devils, the ninth straight time Carolina has won over Duke dating back to 2005.
Freshman Cameron Castleberry scored the first goal of her Tar Heel career just 33 seconds after she entered the game in the first half and Brooke Elby, who started on the front line in the second half, tallied less than two minutes into the second half for her first goal since August 2012. Summer Green added a goal on a penalty kick later in the second half for UNC as she improved to four-for-four on attempts from the 12-yard mark this season.
The Tar Heels came out strong against a Duke side that came into the match on a roll, having won three in a row and going 4-0-1 in its last five games. UNC finished the match with a 19-2 margin in shots and a 7-2 advantage in corner kicks. The Tar Heels had a territorial edge throughout most of the match and the only negative in their game resume was the fact just seven of 19 shots were on goal.
The Tar Heels had 14 of the first 15 shots of the game but up until the 37th minute were unable to get a goal past Duke goalkeeper Meghan Thomas. The Duke keeper made four first-half saves, the best of which was a diving stop on a Kealia Ohai shot in the 26th minute.
Carolina got on the board, however, in the 37th minute on Castleberry's first goal of her career. She actually had entered the match at 35:29 after the Tar Heels had earned a throw in deep in Duke territory. On the restart, the Tar Heels struck for the opening goal of the game. Sophomore Hanna Gardner's throw in found the head of senior midfielder Kelly McFarlane on the end line. McFarlane redirected the back across the frame to Castleberry out front about 10 yards from goal. Castleberry took a touch to settle the ball and then sent the ball over the head of Thomas into the upper right corner for the tally at 36:02 of the match. Castleberry actually almost had a second goal just four minutes later as she had an open chance again in the box but sent her shot over the bar on her second good look.
After outshooting the Blue Devils 16-1 in the first half, the second half was a far calmer affair with both teams combining for only four shots. But the Tar Heels were opportunistic, putting two goals in the back of the net in the second 45 minutes.
Coach Anson Dorrance chose to start Brooke Elby at a forward spot in the second half and it paid off at 46:31 when she scored her first goal of the year to finish off a nifty passing combination. It was Elby's first goal since August 31, 2012 when she tallied against Connecticut. Elby's goal was assisted by both Summer Green and Megan Brigman. The senior defender fed a short pass back to Elby who finished into the left side from 20 yards out.
Duke's best chance of the game came at 60:45 when Laura Weinberg's shot from the left sign was gobbled up by UNC keeper Bryane Heaberlin. Anna Sieloff started in the goal for UNC and played the first 45 minutes. Heaberlin played the second 45 minutes to finish off Carolina's 11th shutout in 19 games this year.
UNC then finished off the scoring at 71:11 after Crystal Dunn was taken down in the box by a pair of Duke defenders. Summer Green stepped to the 12-yard mark and drove her penalty kick into the left side for her seventh goal of the year.North Carolina finished the ACC regular season in third place in the ACC standings behind Virginia and Florida State. The Tar Heels will host Boston College Sunday at 1 p.m. at Fetzer Field in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals. Gates will open at 12 noon as will the Carmichael Arena Ticket Office. The game will also be nationally televised on ESPN3.