WOMEN'S NEWS ...North Carolina women's fans are starting to get a little nervous. The Tar Heel attack that buried UCLA (7-2) and Notre Dame (6-0) earlier this season has suddenly turned into the gang that can't shoot start. About the worst thing you can say about the '09 Heels is they are starting to look like the '07 Heels, whose offensive woes cost them a national championship.
Returning home Thursday night for its ACC opener after scoring only once in a pair of games at the Duke Nike Classic last weekend, No. 2 UNC didn't score its first goal against Duke until Maria Lubrano struck in the 84th minute with her first collegiate goal, and it needed a golden goal from freshman Alyssa Rich to win, 2-1. KayAnne Gummersall had tied the score for the Blue Devils with 66 seconds left in regulation to the dismay of the 2,428 fans at Fetzer Field.
Carolina was playing without three of its senior stars. Midfielder Tobin Heath and goalie Ashlyn Harris are with the U.S. women's national team in training, and winger Nikki Washington's career is over after injuring her knee against LSU a week ago. Another starter, sophomore Courtney Jones, has been bothered by a hamstring injury and only played 30 minutes off the bench. Freshman Lucy Bronze was also on national team duty, playing with England's U-20 national team.
In other ACC action ...
-- No. 6 Florida State handed No. 9 Maryland its first loss of the season with a 2-1 win. Marissa Kazbour's first goal of the season on a header in the 35th minute broke a 1-1 tie. "Maryland is a much improved team and gave us all we could handle," said Seminole coach Mark Krikorian. The win ended FSU's four-game losing streak in ACC openers.
-- No. 14 Virginia had its seven-game unbeaten streak snapped with a 2-1 loss at N.C. State, which won a pair of goals by Paige Dugal, the second in the 88th minute. "This is obviously a disappointing result for us," said Cavalier coach Steve Swanson. "But is a result that we can learn some lessons from." Virginia had a 21-4 edge in shots.
-- With Maryland's loss, No. 3 Boston College is the only unbeaten and untied ACC team. The Eagles won, 2-0, at Miami (Fla.) on first-half goals by freshman starsKristen Mewis and Victoria DiMartino. BC puts its perfect record on the line Sunday when it travels to Florida State.
Weekend Top 25 Schedule
* RED STORM ROCKS.The surprise of the Big East has been No. 15 St. John's, which improved to 8-1-0 with a 1-0 over No. 16 Connecticut on Amanda Pasciolla's golden goal. The Red Storm has never played in the NCAA Tournament but is making a strong case in 2009. It already has quality wins over USC and Indiana in addition to UConn, which it beat for only the third time in 18 meetings.
St. John's has yet to score more than two goals in a game, but it is getting timely goals from players throughout the lineup. Pasciolla was the eighth different player in eight wins to score the winning goal. "Once again, I felt the team showed a lot of character in the game," coachIan Stone said. "UConn is an excellent team and tonight's game showed that we can find a way to dig deep and grind out wins."
* RIO TINTO DEBUT.The first women's game at MLS club Real Salt Lake's Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy featured a bizarre finish as Utah State defeated Utah, 2-1, in overtime on Thursday when Shantel Flanary's attempted cross deflected off a Ute defender and floated into the goal. The game drew 2,070 fans.