WOMEN'S NEWS ...North Carolina's season has turned out to be much tougher than one would have imagined it would be. The defending national champions lost for the second time in ACC play this season -- only the ninth time in 23 years -- when they fell at No. 5 Florida State, 3-2, Thursday night on sophomore Ella Stephan's golden goal with just 12 seconds left in overtime.
Carolina demonstrated overwhelming firepower at the beginning of the season with a 7-2 win over UCLA and 6-0 victory at Notre Dame, but since then, the Tar Heel attack has cooled off. It didn't help that Nikki Washington was lost with a knee injury and Tobin Heath has been away with the women's national team, currently in Germany for next week's international friendly. The big mystery has been the loss of form of 2008 Player of the Year Casey Nogueira, who has only four goals and four assists in 15 games.
In Tallahassee, the UNC defense looked vulnerable. The Seminoles blew a 1-0 lead they held for an hour but they did not get down even after going behind, 2-1. Florida State won on goals by Amanda DaCosta, who fended off two Tar Heel defenders while making a run down the middle of the field, and Stephan, who outjumped the UNC defense to put away Lauren Switzer's corner kick.
"That was awesome," said Stephan. "To be able to finish the game with the final goal is a great feeling. I didn't even see the ball go in. I went up, came down and before I knew it everyone was on top of me screaming." The win was only the second ever by FSU over Carolina. The first came in 2000 when the Tar Heels suffered three ACC defeats -- the only time until this year they have lost more than one conference game in a season. Florida State took over first place in the ACC standings with Thursday's win.
* GAME OF THE DAY:
Oct. 22 in Tallahassee, Fla.
Florida State 3 North Carolina 2 (OT). Edwards (Price, Huster) 7, DaCosta (Brockway) 85, Stephan (Switzer) 110; Klingenberg (Bronze) 66, McDonald (Jones) 67.
Florida State --McNulty, Jaurena, Stephan, Pressley, Brockway, Hester, DaCosta, Edwards, Lim, McCarty, Price. Subs: Crown, Switzer, Kazbour, Hupp,
North Carolina -- Harris, Engen, Givan, Eveland, Hawkins, Klingenberg, Brooks, Jones, Rich, McDonald, Nogueira. Subs: Bartok, Mathias, Bronze, Premji, Smith, Pfankuch, Klimczak, Lubrano.
Referee: Tony Russo.
* SEC FOCUS.With five teams in the Soccer America Women's Top 25 and two close divisional races, it has been a banner year for the Southeastern Conference. No. 20 Florida stayed within a striking distance of No. 10 South Carolina in Eastern Division when redshirt freshman McKenzie Barney, starting her first game at home, scored twice in the Gators' 4-0 win over No. 16 LSU.
No 17 Mississippi took advantage of the Tigers' loss to take over the top spot in the Western Division with a 4-1 win at Kentucky thanks to a pair of goals from Dylan Jordanand Hannah Weatherly. South Carolina defeated Arkansas, 2-0, and No. 24 Georgia, the SEC's fifth Top 25 team, downed Alabama, 3-0. Sunday's top match: South Carolina at LSU, to be televised on ESPNU at 3 p.m. ET.
* BU CLINCHES.Boston University claimed its third straight America East regular-season title -- and seventh since 2000 -- as a result of Stony Brook's 4-0 loss to Maine on Thursday afternoon. The Terriers, who close out their regular season on Sunday with UMBC, will host a semifinal matchup on Nov. 1. They will receive a first-round bye.