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The Daily Tar Heel

Tar Heels Hope to Have Remy Up Front Against Irish

The junior has seen time this season at forward, attacking midfielder and wing midfielder and has flip-flopped so much recently that she sometimes forgets where she's supposed to warm up on the field before games.

"We sort of drop her into the holes wherever there's a problem, and she solves it for us," UNC coach Anson Dorrance said.

Remy will warm up with the forwards today as the fifth-seeded Tar Heels

(19-3) take on top-seeded Notre Dame (23-0-1) in the semifinals of the Women's College Cup at Spartan Stadium in San Jose, Calif., at 8 p.m. EST. The game will air on tape delay Saturday at 3 p.m. on espn2.

The winner will play in the championship game on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. EST against either sixth-seeded UCLA (18-3-1) or unseeded Portland (18-3). The title game will air live on espn2.

Remy started the season in the midfield but was moved up front not long after forward Susan Bush tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee on Oct. 25.

But Remy, who primarily played forward last season, has been shifted into the middle frequently since moving up top. One of those times was Saturday. She replaced junior Jena Kluegel on the left wing after Kluegel sustained a right ankle injury in the 56th minute of UNC's 3-0 NCAA quarterfinal win against Connecticut.

Although her numbers have dropped as a result of a move to a less prominent place in the offense (three goals and 12 assists this season, compared to 13 goals and 14 assists last year), Remy said she's content with her role and doesn't mind the constant movement.

"It doesn't bother me," Remy said. "I just want to help the team out any way I can, and wherever (Dorrance) needs me, I'll go. I'll play goalkeeper if he wanted me to - but I don't think he wants me to do that."

No, Dorrance probably doesn't. What he does want is to put her on the front line, and with Kluegel's ankle injury improving rapidly, he'll be able to do precisely that.

Kluegel said Tuesday that the ankle was at "85 to 90 percent" strength - good enough for her to play today.

"I just started jogging (Tuesday), and it feels fine," said Kluegel, whose 22 assists rank second in the nation and fourth on UNC's all-time single-season list. "It's a little tender in some spots, but it feels fine. I'm planning on playing this weekend."

The Tar Heels certainly need Kluegel's deft passing skills to win their 16th national title. The Fighting Irish rank first in the nation in goals-against average, yielding 0.33 per game, and have recorded 16 shutouts.

UNC will also need to put the clamps on Irish senior attacking midfielder Anne Makinen. The three-time All-American has 14 goals and 15 assists on the season and is a leading candidate for the Hermann Trophy, which goes to the national player of the year.

"She's one of the best players to ever play collegiate soccer," Dorrance said. "We've got to somehow contain her."

Notre Dame has some containing of its own to do. The Irish must find a way to slow down UNC, which has outscored its opponents 22-2 in the postseason. The Tar Heels enter the final four with three losses - the most losses they've had in a season since 1980 - and their lowest seed in tournament history, but they have returned to form.

After a come-from-behind 2-1 win against Virginia, the Tar Heels handily defeated a UConn squad that played the Irish to a scoreless tie on Oct. 22 and lost to the Irish 1-0 on an own-goal in the Big East championship on Nov. 5.

"Their history says enough, and it's no different this year," said Notre Dame coach Randy Waldrum, whose team lost to UNC in last year's final 2-0. "Until someone beats them, they're the team to beat - it doesn't matter where they're ranked."

The Sports Editor can be reached at sports@unc.edu.

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