Sterling Smith, a Chapel Hill product, scored the first goal of her career Tuesday night to lift No. 9 North Carolina to a 1-0 victory over UNC Greensboro before 2,387 fans at Fetzer Field.
Playing their third game in five days, the Heels were "strung out physically," according to Coach Anson Dorrance. They didn't score until the 59th minute against UNCG.
"I'm excited we gutted out the win," said Dorrance. "Our freshmen are outstanding and they are getting better. We have our positions in the lineup figured out, but we need to get everybody back from their national team commitments and the injuries we are working through."
Playing in her home debut, Smith is one of the most unheralded players in Carolina's freshman class, arguably the best in the country. Two of the best freshmen -- Tobin Heath and Casey Nogueira -- are playing for the USA at the Under-20 World Championship.
- ABSENT CANADIANS
- Tar Heel Robyn Gaylealso missed the UNCG game. She was with the Canada national team that tied France, 2-2, on Tuesday in Dieppe, France. Gayle was one of three Canadians who missed the start of the 2006 college season to travel to France for the two-game tour. Also absent were Nebraska's Brittany Timko and Princeton's Diana Matheson, both Soccer America Preseason All-American selections. Florida's Melanie Booth and Portland recruit Sophie Schmidt, who joined the Canadian seniors after playing at the U-20 World Championship, are red-shirting in 2006. Canada, which will attempt to qualify for the 2007 Women's World Cup at this fall's Gold Cup, is loaded with former U.S. collegians, notably 2005 Player of the Year Christine Sinclair. The Dieppe game was Canada's fourth in 10 days. It also tied China, 0-0 and 1-1, and beat France, 1-0.