Saturday, November 24, 2012
The University of North Carolina earned its first trip to the College Cup since 2009 as former Long Island Rough Riders standout Crystal Dunn scored twice, including the overtime game-winner, to lead the Tar Heels to a 2-1 victory against BYU on Friday night in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Women’s Tournament. Dunn, and three other W-League alumni, scored the decisive goals to earn their sides a berth in San Diego next weekend.
Dunn had given the Tar Heels a fourth-minute lead in Provo, Utah, driving home a finish from the top of the penalty area to put the No. 1-seed Cougars on their heels. BYU was able to respond, tying the game from the penalty spot at the half-hour mark, but the goal didn’t faze the Tar Heels as they dominated the game in the second half, outshooting BYU 11-3.
Dunn came close to restoring her side’s lead early in the second half, but with time winding down in overtime and the game appearing headed to a penalty shootout, she was able to drive home a finish from 15 yards out after good work by Kealia Ohai on the left side. The goal was Dunn’s fifth of the season, and sent the Tar Heels to their 26th appearance at the College Cup.
North Carolina will face defending champion Stanford in the College Cup semifinals after the Cardinal rallied past rival UCLA thanks to a pair of goals by the LA Strikers’ Lo’eau LaBonta for a 2-1 victory in Palo Alto, Calif.
Sam Mewis had given the Bruins the lead in the eighth minute, but the Cardinal were able to hit back after the halftime break with a pair of goals that came 15 minutes apart, both from corner kicks. LaBonta first tied the game in the 55th minute, tapping home from point-blank range as Sydney Payne’s low shot came to her close in.
LaBonta was then on hand to pick up the pieces after Alex Doll’s initial shot was blocked, firing home from five yards out to put the Cardinal ahead for good. The win ensured the Cardinal’s senior class would never taste defeat on its home field, going 52-0-1 in its time at the school, and gave Stanford a chance at a fourth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Championship Game.
D.C. United Women’s Christine Nairn earned Penn State its first appearance at the College Cup since 2005 as her penalty kick proved the only goal in the Nittany Lions’ 1-0 victory against Duke in Happy Valley, Pa.
Nairn, who scored three goals for D.C. in 2011, earned the penalty kick in the 13thminute, being tripped just inside the penalty area. She then slotted home her finish from the spot for her team-leading 16th goal of the season. The Nittany Lions were then able to withstand pressure from Duke and Long Island Rough Riders standout Kim DeCesare, the Blue Devils outshooting PSU 19-7, to earn their place in the semifinals.
Penn State will face Florida State on Friday night after the Seminoles took a 1-0 victory against Notre Dame through former Pali Blues standout Tiffany McCarty to earn their second consecutive trip to the College Cup.
FSU controlled the majority of the first half, but the breakthrough didn’t come until the 53rd minute as McCarty headed home from close range after getting on the end of a knock-back header by Dagny Brynjarsdottir. McCarty, who had five goals in 11 games for the Blues in 2011, earned the Seminoles their sixth trip to the College Cup.