Wisps of golden hair escape from Kristin DePlatchett's blond ponytail and frame her cherubic face. The senior is known for her work ethic, her almost 30-inch vertical jump and her academic prowess.
"Kristin is the mold for a scholar-athlete," said North Carolina women's soccer coach Anson Dorrance. "She is a cerebral, disciplined, compassionate person."
While DePlatchett strives to improve her soccer savvy, Jenni Branam brings raw talent and a gritty attitude to the Tar Heel squad. Her aggressive nature at times strikes fear into even her own teammates. Branam's brute strength is evident in her 5-foot-7 frame, making her opponents think twice when she charges out of the goal box to blast a ball down the field.
"Jenni is so tough," defender Leslie Gaston said. "She's fearless. She will come out for something when she knows she's going to get nailed in the process."
The two North Carolina goalkeepers are definitely different, yet when it comes to shutting down opposing team's offenses, their success is strikingly similar.
Branam, a junior, has started in goal for the Tar Heels since her freshman year. DePlachett, who left high school a year early to come to UNC, has filled the role of backup for most of her collegiate career.
But in this year's postseason, the two have switched roles.
DePlatchett will finally get her chance to start in a NCAA Tournament game tonight when the Tar Heels face UNC-Greensboro in their first round game at 5:30 p.m. at Fetzer Field.
"I hoped I would be (starting)," DePlatchett said. "In your mind you always have to prepare yourself, so that's what I did. It's a lot easier to start than to come in during the game."