As unpredictable as sports can often be, one fact almost always can be counted on: The mighty eventually fall.
It happened to the Boston Celtics. It happened to the New York Yankees a couple of times. And it could be starting to happen to the North Carolina women's soccer team.
UNC, which has won 15 NCAA championships in the tournament's
18-year history, lost three ACC games this season. The Tar Heels had lost once in the ACC prior to this year and hadn't dropped three games since the 1980 team finished 21-5 in the program's second year of existence.
It is a season that has sparked a question: Are the first signs of UNC's fall beginning to reveal themselves?
"Everybody wants to know the answer to that question," Duke coach Bill Hempen said. "You're just seeing that women's soccer is becoming extremely competitive throughout the country. And they're going to do whatever they can to maintain their supremacy, as they should, as any champion would.
"If anybody is thinking that they're getting easier to play, they're doing their best to make sure that that's not going to happen."
The eighth-ranked Tar Heels, who will play either Liberty or Wake Forest in the second round of the NCAA tournament at home Sunday, definitely made sure of it last weekend. UNC (18-3, 4-3 in the ACC) thrashed its three opponents in the ACC tournament to collect its 12th straight title and 13th overall.