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North Carolina wins 20th NCAA title
by Paul Kennedy, December 7th, 2009 8:46AM

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[WOMEN'S COLLEGE CUP] North Carolina won its 20th NCAA Division I women's championship with a 1-0 win over top-ranked Stanford on Jessica McDonald's third-minute goal. The Cardinal, who went into the game with a 25-0-0 record and was rattled by Carolina's high-pressure game, lost star Kelley O'Hara with a red card in the second half.

The Tar Heels dominated Stanford with a 19-9 edge in shots and almost 3-2 edge in possession.

The title was the third for a nine-member group of UNC seniors and redshirt junior Ali Hawkins who missed the 2007 campaign with an ACL tear.

Tobin Heath, Ashlyn Harris, Whitney Engen, Kristi Eveland, Casey Nogueira and Hawkins played in all three finals.

For the second year in a row, Carolina denied a team of a perfect season. Last year, the Heels beat Notre Dame, 2-1, in the final after falling behind in the first minute.

This year, it was UNC with the early -- and deciding -- goal.

Heath fed Nogueira on the left side, allowing Nogueira to go 1v1 with her defender. The College Cup Offensive MVP then played a ball into the six-yard box, where McDonald split her defenders and one-timed Nogueira's ball into the left side of the goal.

Engen was named the Most Outstanding Player on Defense, while the College Cup All-Tournament Team included Heath, McDonald, Harris and fellow Tar Heel Rachel Givan.

O'Hara was issued her second yellow card of the match in the 73rd minute for a tackle from behind, forcing her out and ending her collegiate career with 57 goals, the second highest in Stanford history.

Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe called the second yellow "harsh," but deferred to the judgment of referee Corey Rockwell.

Despite the circumstances, Stanford nearly equalized.

"There wasn't very much time in the game and I knew that we were going to have to give it our all," Press said. "I just didn't want our mentality to be negative because we lost one of our best players. I knew that we did have a chance. And we could have won it, even playing a man down. I wanted everyone to know that."

Christen Press scored late in the game but was called for offside.

North Carolina's high-pressure game was the difference in the final

"North Carolina does great job of pressuring and swarming the ball," Ratcliffe said. "It's easy to talk about as a coach what you need to do, but it's difficult in there, especially with slick conditions. It was hard for us to get into a rhythm and really play our type of soccer. It wasn't a fantastic game for us, we can play better. But you have to give Carolina a lot of credit. They played, they put you under pressure, and they make it difficult for you to get into a rhythm."

NCAA Division I Final
Dec. 6 in College Station

North Carolina 1 Stanford 0. Goal: McDonald (C.Nogueira, Heath) 3.
North Carolina -- Harris, Engen, Given, Eveland, Klingenberg, Bronze, Brooks, Heath, McDonald, C,Nogueira, Jones. Subs: Rich, Smith, Pfankuch, Hawkins, Lubrano.
Stanford -- Maker, A.Riley, Garciamendez, Jenkins, Quon, Noyola, Heath, McCann, Taylor, O'Hara, Press. Subs: Levin, Verloo, Nogueira.
Yellow Cards: North Carolina -- Klingenberg 4; Stanford -- O'Hara 69, 73.
Red card:
Stanford -- O'Hara 73.
Referee:
Corey Rockwell.
Att.:
8,536.



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