[NORTH CAROLINA-STANFORD] Rebuilding North Carolina got bad news last week when Soccer America Preseason All-Americans Rachel Givan and Ali Hawkins were both sidelined due to injuries heading into Friday's game against No. 2 Stanford, a rematch of last year's Women's College Cup final. But No. 1 Carolina's freshmen and sophomores rose to the occasion ...
Twice Stanford went ahead on goals by senior Christen Press and junior Teresa Noyola, but twice UNC came back.
In her first start, freshman Kealia Ohai rescued the Heels with a goal off a rebound and an assist on Amber Brooks' goal in the 71st minute.
"It was really hard not having them [Hawkins and Givan]," said Ohai, "because they are two huge starters and leaders on this team and they are awesome. So it was hard for us going into this game but we knew we had to step up in other places and I think we did."
Without Givan and Hawkins, Carolina played only four players from the team that beat Stanford, 1-0, in the College Cup final.
"It's ridiculous that we are the No. 1 team," said UNC coach Anson Dorrance. "We put six or seven girls in the pro league. So I have no illusions about where we should be ranked. In the national championship game last year, we had four kids on the field tonight who played in that game and Stanford had eight. So I love my young kids. A bunch of freshmen and sophomores played tonight and played well against a wonderful Stanford team and fought tooth and nail for 110 minutes."
Dorrance said Stanford controlled the first half completely.
"But I genuinely believe that was a mistake I made," he said. "We were trying to find a way to replace Ali Hawkins. The mistake I made was leaving Ranee Premji on the bench and I should have started her at attacking center halfback."
In the first overtime, Stanford's Allison McCann had a shot cleared off the line, but the Cardinal couldn't get the winner it was looking for.
"It was disappointing," Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe said. "We played hard and had good chances. But we should've finished the job."