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Three players with international experience aided the defending women's soccer national champions.
MICHAEL SHROYER | Special to The Roanoke Times
Virginia Tech senior forward Jazmine Reeves (5, in white) heads in the Hokies’ lone goal against top-ranked North Carolina on Thursday night at Thompson Field in Blacksburg.
Thursday, September 12, 2013
BLACKSBURG — North Carolina demonstrated Thursday why it has the best women’s soccer program in the country.
Three players with international experience helped the top-ranked Tar Heels, who are the defending NCAA champions, beat No. 22 Virginia Tech 2-1 in front of 1,406 fans at Thompson Field.
The Tar Heels (7-0, 1-0 ACC) left Blacksburg in defeat in 2009 and 2011, but they took the lead for good in the first half Thursday.
“They’re deep, they have some experienced players and they’re athletic,” Tech coach Charles Adair said. “They are relentless in their pressure.”
The speedy Tar Heels return eight starters from their championship team, including Crystal Dunn, who was the consensus national player of the year last season.
Dunn is also one of Abby Wambach’s and Alex Morgan’s teammates on the U.S. national team. She recently made her fifth start for that squad in a win over Mexico.
“I can bring a lot of experience from that environment,” Dunn said. “It helped my game.”
Dunn has also seen action with the under-20 national team. She and fellow Tar Heels Kealia Ohai and Bryane Heaberlin helped the U.S. win the Under-20 Women’s World Cup in Japan last year.
All three helped the Tar Heels win Thursday. Ohai scored from 10 yards out in the 60th minute to extend UNC’s lead to 2-0, with Dunn getting the assist.
“Any experience internationally gives you confidence,” said Ohai, an All-American.
Heaberlin was the goalkeeper for the second half, recording her team’s lone save. UNC has used two goalkeepers in each game this year.
It was Anson Dorrance’s 750th win as the UNC women’s soccer coach.
“What that means is I’m hellaciously old,” Dorrance, 62, cracked.
Dorrance, the only coach in the program’s history, has led the squad to 21 NCAA titles. He has 922 wins overall, including 172 when he was the men’s coach at UNC.
“The 750 is a combination of longevity and also the fact that we’ve had some extraordinary players over the years,” he said.
UNC took a 1-0 lead in the 35th minute when reserve Paige Nielsen scored from 15 yards out.
“We really like our reserves coming in because they pick the level up even more sometimes,” Ohai said.
It rained late in the game, but Jazmine Reeves scored on a header in the 87th minute to cut the lead to 2-1.
“She’s always a threat,” Dorrance said of Reeves.
The Hokies (5-1-1, 0-1) return seven starters from last year’s NCAA tournament team, including Shannon Mayrose, who has yet to play this season because of a broken foot.
“You would think what they would have to do is to play a very negative game, but they don’t. When they get the ball, they try to play,” Dorrance said. “They try to ping it around, which I really respect.
“That’s the last team we want to play again.”
Tech’s Dayle Colpitts had seven saves.
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