UNC wins title... again
USL News Release
Monday, December 7, 2009
COLLEGE STATION, TX – Ten W-League players helped guide the University of North Carolina to its 21st national championship Sunday, downing Stanford 1-0 in the championship match.
Protecting their status as the only school to ever finish the women’s Division I college season with a perfect record, the University of North Carolina claimed their third title in four years by downing Stanford, who came into the championship game at Texas A&M Sunday with an unblemished 24-0-0 record. Ten former W-League players were on UNC’s roster for the game, including Casey Nogueira, who set up the game-winning goal in the 1-0 decision with a beautiful cross three minutes in that Jessica McDonald one-timed past the keeper from close-range.
In a showdown that featured four players on each side of the pitch that were teammates with the W-League champion Pali Blues this past summer, it was a Carolina native that made the difference. Nogueira, who played for the Cary Lady Clarets in 2009 received the ball on the left flank and sent a picture perfect cross into the box, where McDonald struck it on the volley for the lead.
That was all North Carolina needed as midfielder Tobin Heath, goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris and defender Whitney Engen, all from the Blues, clamped down on the potent Stanford attack led by fellow Blues players Kelley O’Hara and Christen Press.
The task became more difficult for Stanford as O’Hara was sent off for a second yellow card with just under 18 minutes left to play.
Despite limited opportunities, Press nearly leveled the score with just two minutes left in the game, but was judged to have been slightly offside on the play.
Eight W-League players were honored with All-Tournament Team selections. Lauren Cheney (UCLA/Pali), Sydney Leroux (UCLA/Vancouver), O’Hara, Press, Heath, Harris, Engen and Nogueira. Engen was chosen as the Most Outstanding Player on Defense while Nogueira was named the Most Outstanding Player on Offense.