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The Daily Tar Heel

Schwoy Returns to Scoring Form

For Laurie Schwoy, the resurgence could not have come at a more opportune time.

The North Carolina women's soccer team trailed Virginia late in the second half of Saturday's third-round NCAA matchup. A loss would have prevented UNC from advancing to the final four for the first time in tournament history.

Schwoy, a fifth-year senior midfielder, faced the grim prospect - along with the other Tar Heel seniors - of having her collegiate career end in such ignominious fashion at Fetzer Field.

But Schwoy kept her career alive and ensured that UNC would not make history this season, scoring the game-tying goal in the 68th minute with a header off a corner kick.

UNC went on to win the game 2-1 to advance to a meeting in the elite eight with Connecticut at home Saturday.

"There's something weird about this place," Schwoy said. "Every time we go down, we always know we're going to come back. That's kind of a bad thing - (UNC coach Anson Dorrance) always tells us that we shouldn't think that or tell each other that it's going to come.

"I've been down more than a couple times in my career, and we come through. There's something special about this program."

Schwoy has been down more than usual during the past two years. A hamstring injury forced her to sit out all of last season and problems with both hamstrings required surgery prior to this season, which has translated into reduced playing time.

Schwoy saw the field for the first time since Dec. 6, 1998, in a 6-1 home win against Duke on Sept. 29. She entered that game in the 73rd minute and played for more than 12 minutes and has been eased into increased playing time since then.

Schwoy subbed in for midfielder Jordan Walker a little more than four minutes before her goal Saturday and finished with about 36 minutes of playing time.

"Anyone who's ever watched Laurie's career here knows that she's one of the greatest goal-scorers we've ever had," Dorrance said. "It's just so unfortunate that she's fighting through this leg problem.

"That kind of goal is the kind of goal she would score regularly. She's one of the great headers in collegiate soccer, one of the great attacking headers."

So there Schwoy was Saturday, leaping as high in the air as her surgically-repaired hamstrings would allow and heading in a left-wing corner kick from midfielder Jena Kluegel to tie the score at 1-1.

Senior forward Meredith Florance sealed the victory with the game-winner less than eight minutes later.

"It was probably one of my greatest goals ever, maybe the greatest," Schwoy said. "It's been hard coming back from injury because sometimes I feel I can't help the team as much as I would like. Anytime I can contribute to help them win a game, it's the best feeling in the world.

"And I think that's the fastest I have ever run in my life after I scored that goal. I think I would have made (UNC's) fitness (requirement) running that fast. What a rush, especially to look up and see all those fans as you run along, and they stand up with you - it's just the best feeling in the world for me. It was awesome."

The Sports Editor can be reached


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