The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday February 1st

Women's Soccer Learns, Regroups

If that's the case, then North Carolina women's soccer team hasn't stopped staring at its goal of another national championship since the first practice of the season.

Heading into this weekend's Carolina Nike Classic, the nation's No. 1 team has remained optimistic.

Some of the team entered the season out of shape, but at least everyone's healthy.

They lost a exhibition game to Nebraska, but it served as a early wake-up call.

Two star players could miss five games, but others will get valuable experience.

"There's a silver lining in all the clouds," UNC coach Anson Dorrance said.

North Carolina could have been shaken by any of those bumps in the road. Instead, they took what they were given and moved on without hesitation.

Since the rainout of the Texas A&M game Sunday, UNC went back to the basics.

They're working on their conditioning, with some players participating in the "Breakfast Club," a 7 a.m. Monday through Thursday training routine run by assistant coach Bill Palladino.

The team also spent the last week refining its finishing techniques.

Senior defender Danielle Borgman said the coaches want the players to relax more while in the attacking zone. She said a calm Tar Heel squad is more effective than an over-zealous one.

"Against Texas, we had 21 shots on goal and only one goal," Borgman said. "So that's an obvious concern."

But perhaps a bigger concern is the possibility of losing midfielder and captain Jena Kluegel and defensive star Catherine Reddick for the next 12 days.

Both players are training with the U.S. national team and could be chosen to play with the team, forcing UNC to play its next five games without them.

Dorrance said this is an unusual situation for any college team. Ordinarily, the U.S. coaches don't select college players because of the large pool of talent already at their disposal.

"But it's going to help us mature faster," Dorrance said. "We going to have more players getting playing time, which is going to help us later."

Freshman Sara Randolph will take Kluegel's position on the left side while several players, including Susan Bush, Anne Morrell and Alyssa Ramsey, will have to step up the offensive attack.

But Sunday's game against the No. 8 Penn State presents a challenge for the UNC defense, too.

The Tar Heels will have to stop All-American Christie Welsh, whom Dorrance said almost beat UNC single-handedly during the last match-up.

"I have to increase my leadership role without Jena being there," Borgman said. "Penn State beat us on our home field. That's just something we're trying to avenge."

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

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