Nov. 8, 2009
CARY, N.C. - Two early goals by fourth-ranked North Carolina (17-3-1) proved to be too much to overcome as third-ranked Florida State (16-4-1) fell 3-0 to the Tar Heels in the ACC Championship game Sunday afternoon in Cary.
The Tar Heels received a pair of goals from Casey Nogueira in the first 13 minutes of play to give UNC its 20th league title in 22 years.
"The better team won today," said head coach Mark Krikorian. "Carolina was better from the start and took it to us pretty well. They created good chances early on and throughout the course of the game. We just were not sharp enough today."
Sunday's contest was a mirror opposite from the regular season meeting between these two schools back on October 22 in Tallahassee in which the Seminoles won 3-2 in double overtime. In that game, the Garnet and Gold held the advantage in both shots (16-13) and corners (8-3).
On Sunday, it was a different story as the Tar Heels forced the offensive tempo for a majority of the contest with UNC finishing the game outshooting FSU 26-8. Sixteen of those shots came in the first half, while Nogueira, who was named Tournament MVP, finished the game with a game-high eight shots.
"We didn't have the energy we needed to bring to the game today to compete against them at an elite level," added Krikorian. "They are a high energy team and very talented. They were better; I would say it was a fair result."
Becky Edwards led Florida State with two shots, while six other Seminoles recorded a shot. Erin McNulty finished with five saves and moved into second place all-time in the FSU record books with 21 career saves in ACC Tournament competition.
North Carolina wasted little in cracking the scoreboard as Nogueira found the back of the net in the third minute of action to give the Tar Heels the early 1-0 lead. Off a double assist from Jessica McDonald and Kristi Eveland, Nogueira got between a pair of Seminole defenders and slipped a low-liner inside the left post from about 16 yards out for the goal.
In the 13th minute of play, the Seminoles were called for a questionable foul inside the 18-yard box which led to a penalty kick and the second goal of the afternoon for the Tar Heels and Nogueira. Toni Pressley made a play on the ball with UNC's Courtney Jones attacking on the play. Jones fell down on the tackle and the referee called a foul leading to a penalty kick situation for UNC. Nogueira stepped in and took the kick, slipping a low shot inside the left post for her second goal of the half.
Tiffany McCarty had a great scoring chance for the Seminoles in the 21st minute but her shot from inside the box on the right wing was saved by Ashlyn Harris.
Thirty-seven second after checking into the game, Marissa Kazbour made her presence felt in the 30th minute of play sending a shot on goal that was saved on the near post by a Tar Heel defender. Following a Florida State throw-in, Jessica Price sent the ball into the 18-yard box that deflected off a few bodies before landing to the feet of Kazbour. The junior midfielder one-timed a shot on goal for the Seminoles.
North Carolina extended its lead in the 70th minute on a goal by Sterling Smith, her first of the season. Smith made a great run on a ball played out to the right wing by Tobin Heath. The senior forward took a quick dribble inside and sent a cross inside the left post for the goal. Brittani Bartok was also credited with an assist on the play.
Florida State will next await its fate in the upcoming NCAA Tournament and where they will be seated among the field of 64 teams. The NCAA Women's Soccer Selection Committee will announce the participating teams on Monday, November 9 on ESPNews between 8-8:30 p.m.