North Carolina earns shot at 22th title with win over Washington State

Anson Dorrance   celebrated the 26th NCAA semifinal win of his career when UNC beat Washington State, 2-1, on Friday evening, and on Sunday will aim to win a 22nd NCAA title. The Tar Heels face Stanford, a 4-1 winner over UCLA, in the Women's College Cup final in San Jose, California.

“First of all, I want to praise Washington State," said Dorrance. "They made it very difficult for us. They just were very competitive. It was just an incredibly challenging game. Soccer is just an interesting game. Honestly, if you look at the chances created, they created better chances than we did. We happened to finish the two that we created, but they created twice as many chances as we did. ... I think we were lucky to be in the final.”

Dorrance was being somewhat generous even if the Cougars will rue missed chances.

After UNC took the game's first two shots within three minutes, the Cougars definitely dominated for a stretch. In the seventh minute, goalkeeper Ella Dederick's long goal kick was relayed via the heads of Elyse Bennett and Averie Collins for Morgan Weaver to pounce on just inside the penalty area. Her sharp low shot skidded past diving keeper Claudia Dickey to put the Cougars ahead, 1-0, in the seventh minute.

The Cougars kept hold of the momentum until Alessisa Russo struck from close-range when she latched on to a clever lobbed pass from Taylor Otto to make it 1-1 in the 23rd minute.

The swift attacks by Washington State continued after the equalizer, but the Tar Heels began responding with frequent forays of their own. With eight minutes left in the first half, Ru Macherera's cross from the left flank met another UNC sub, Alexis Strickland, at the far post to torpedo into the goal with her head from close range.

Washington State's crude approach -- two fouls within the first two minutes and five within the first 10 minutes -- complemented by some brilliant individual talent stunned the Tar Heels in the early going. But they ultimately proved capable of handling the rough play and benefited from their deeper pool of individual talent.

The Cougars out-shot the Tar Heels, 10-8 while both had four shots on target. Referee Samantha Martinez reacted to quickly to the early fouling but couldn't possibly see all the pushing and grabbing. She kept her yellow card packed away while calling the Cougars' for 15 fouls. (Coach Todd Shulenberger and his players reacted to nearly each call as if it were a grave injustice no matter how blatant the infraction.) The Tar Heels were called for 10 fouls.

The Cougars were making their first College Cup appearance and arrived in San Jose thanks to road wins over No. 3 Virginia (3-2), West Virginia (3-0), and No. 5 South Carolina (1-0).

“It was a tough night but I'm super proud of this group," said Shulenberger. "You never like to lose, but you're playing one of the best teams in America year in year out."

Dec. 6 in San Jose, Calif.
North Carolina 2 Washington State 1. Goals: Russo 24, Strickland 38; Weaver 7.
North Carolina -- Dickey, Bell, Wubben-Moy, Dorsey, Andrezejewski, Otto, Pinto, Jones, M.Goff, Russo, Cox. Subs: Schultz, Mucherera, Strickland, Redei, Gambone, Klanke, Joel, Pierce.
Washington State -- Dederick, McGlyn, H.Goff, Alger, Rieken, Minniss, Gomera-Stevens, Pulver, Collins, Weaver, Bennett. Subs: Hernandez-Repreza, Elaily, Jones, Myers, Whieldon, Frimpong-Ellertson, Lynch.
Att.: 7,699.
2 comments about "North Carolina earns shot at 22th title with win over Washington State".
  1. frank schoon, December 7, 2019 at 11:19 a.m.

    Sorry to say, having watched both games, I'm asking myself what is all the fuss about  ECNL,and DA, other than being a power struggle, for obvious is not about quality training as far as I can see. This fight is all about where to place the deck chairs on an ocean liner to get a better view of the sea around you....In other words, what I'm saying here these girls no matter which road they choose to go on for their development and training doesn't make any difference.
    These two games points out how bad women soccer really is. It was slam bam, kick the ball long, go for broke, bad executed passes, hustle your buns off, fight. And don't forget as  Fouty and her compatriot, in their lackluster display of any insightful commenary, continually stated that so many girls out there are so talented and are on the National team. National team of what? bad soccer ,perhaps....

    In the NC game the first decent pass that had any thinking behind it was made in the 17th minute by the Washington team. In the first 20min of the game NC couldn't even string two passes together.
    All I hear from Fouty  is how good NC is, stating they have talent, depth, and fight. Yeah, I agree definitely on the "fight' part ,which both teams have displayed.

    Both games, prove how WEAK the players are in HANDLING THE BALL, and THINKING when given little time and space. You would think after 40 years of coaching women's soccer , with 22 titles as so often stated by the commentators that Anson Dorrance, the grandfather of women college soccer coaches, by now could come up with a product a higher quality level of game than his opponents; but instead it is nothing but slam bam thank you soccer, mud wrestling , when the opponent play high pressure. NC basicly has relied all these years on "athleticism", strong athletes who have some soccer ability, but look simply ordinary when the opponents don't give them time. NEXT POST


  2. frank schoon, December 7, 2019 at 11:53 a.m.

    I noticed how little the women shield the ball either on receiving the ball or while on the dribble thus allowing the opponent a chance to fight and steal the ball. It is all straight forward, predictable. You know exatly when the player will kick the ball long, even my cat can see that. I never saw a fake kick  or pass attempt to throw the opponent's reaction off but instead everything was direct and therefore the opponent the next would think ,is she or isn't she going to pass or kick. The opponent can close her and know will happen and thus commits.

    I can't understand why Dorance employed 3 defenders when the opponents had 3 attackers. The Golden Rule is that you always have one more defender than attackers. Because the Washington's front line players are not savvy enough to take advantage of a mistake, Anson ,perhaps can get away with it.  You would think with NC playing 3-5-2, means the backline has plenty of options (7) to pass forwards  but instead lots of balls were just blasted forwards; so little thinking behind these passes.

    I  sense in women soccer, for the men is no prize either, the lack of touch or feel on the ball and you see that when they pass the ball, fjor instance. There is no difference between the feel you put into a ball with your leg or with a field hockey stick. To explain "feel" is difficult, I think if you're hispanic or a player who like to caress the ball and see it as an extension of yourself know what I'm talking about. You think women would be more sensitive with the ball, but they are not.
    One of the problems, I think, is that the girls don't grow up playing pick up soccer and that definitely is a must. Where do you women play pick up soccer. They are basically trained by coaches at clubs and therefore play very "programmed" in their style and manner of play. An effort  needs to be made for girls, women to play pick up....

    I did noticed a lot of grabbing and holding employed by the Washington team which ,to me, is not complimentary towards their coach. That ,to me , is total garbage and obviously the coach allows it to go on.


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