North Carolina reaches final for 23rd time in 28 years

[WOMEN'S COLLEGE CUP] North Carolina is one game away from repeating as national champion for the first time in nine years after beating Notre Dame, 1-0, on Casey Nogueira's late goal in the semifinals of the Women's College Cup before 8,026 fans in College Station, Texas.

The Tar Heels bombarded Notre Dame junior goalkeeper Nikki Weiss, finishing with a 26-8 edge in shots, but the game was not a repeat of their earlier meeting this season won by UNC, 6-0.

Nogueira now has seven goals in eight NCAA Tournament games, one more than she scored during the regular season.

Carolina advanced to the final for the 23rd time in 28 years.

For Notre Dame, the loss snapped a 19-game unbeaten streak.

"It's been one of the most rewarding years I've had at Notre Dame, and that's including the national championship of 2004," said Irish coach Randy Waldrum. "This team really has come so far. If you'd have asked anyone who saw us play Carolina in the first two weeks of the year, no one would have guessed we'd be back here. It's taken a lot of hard work. This staff has done a great job of keeping the team focused and believing they could get back. A lot of the credit goes to the players for believing that we were good enough to get back. Even though it's a disappointing night, it's been a really rewarding year."
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