"Amy Tran was outstanding. I really believe she's one of, if not the best goalie in the country," UNC coach Karen Shelton said. "She's really saved us. Our strength this year has been strong defense and penalty corner execution."
UNC showed strong defense to tie DiGiacomo's hands, although after the game she said she couldn't tell a difference in UNC's strategy.
"I thought we did a nice job on Marina today, so that's some consolation," Shelton said. "But they're an outstanding team, so even if you stop her, they have a lot of weapons that can come back and bite you."
Julie Miracle was the first to bite the Tar Heels. After Tran kicked a DiGiacomo hit away from the net, Miracle took control of the rebound and slapped it in the cage with 33:49 left in the game.
Laura Steadman added ODU's third goal in similar fashion, scoring after a ball deflected off of Tran's chest.
UNC responded by pulling together its biggest threat of the game. UNC charged hard at ODU goalie Marybeth Freeman, but she stopped each shot.
UNC got on the board on its second penalty corner of the afternoon. Sweeper Abby Martin hit a straight shot outside the circle, and Kristen McCann got a stick on it to tip it in for the goal.
The Tar Heels tried the same options a corner later, but Holly Huff couldn't touch the ball before it hit the cage.
UNC advanced to the title game by taking a 4-1 victory against Maryland in the semifinals Friday.
Although UNC didn't have nearly the opportunities the Terps had, it converted more of its chances. UNC debuted a corner option to exploit the Terrapin defense and dished the ball to Meredith Keller, who had two goals on the night.
"Once you make it to the final four, anything can happen," Shelton said. "I think we proved that against Maryland -- some people thought they were the heavy favorite and were going to come in and dominate -- and we were able to come out with the win.
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"I think if we had been luckier and done some things differently, we could have come out with the win. But we didn't."
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