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The Daily Tar Heel

Soccer Teams Prepare For NCAA Matches

However, the lead didn't last long enough to defeat the unbeaten, top-ranked Tar Heels. On Saturday the Scarlet Knights scored and kept their one-goal lead for 52 minutes -- the longest UNC has trailed all season.

But the Tar Heels came back and instead of getting booted in the third round of the 2001 Women's College Cup were privy to an eye-opening experience. The possibility of losing became very real very quickly.

"I'm just ecstatic to be alive in the NCAA Tournament," said UNC coach Anson Dorrance. "It's all about advancing."

The Tar Heels face another test today at 7 p.m. at Fetzer Field when they take on Penn State to advance to the NCAA semifinals. UNC defeated the Nittany Lions 3-0 on Sept. 9 in a regular season matchup.

In that win, the Tar Heels shut down Penn State's offensive machine, All-American forward Christie Welsh. She has scored 25 goals and had 18 assists this season but managed only one shot against UNC.

Should the Tar Heels advance to the semifinals, they would be in familiar territory. UNC has advanced to the final four in each of the last 20 years.

Men's Soccer Faces American

The impulse to overreact, to look ahead to a late-season trip to Columbus, Ohio, would have been premature at best.

After Wake Forest and Virginia -- the two ACC teams that topped the North Carolina men's soccer team this year -- both lost in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, it would have been easy for the Tar Heels to set their sights on the site of this year's final four.

But instead of an anticipated rematch with the Demon Deacons, UNC (17-4) will host American on Sunday at 1 p.m.

And if they top the Eagles (13-7-2), the seventh-seeded Tar Heels will face the winner of the Farleigh Dickinson-Seton Hall game in a national quarterfinal Dec. 9.

"They're a good team, and they have a good coach," said UNC coach Elmar Bolowich of American. "They will be very dangerous. They will be well-organized. Perhaps they know enough about us and the way that we play our personnel."

Bolowich said he has talked to other coaches to prepare for American, which topped Ohio State 2-1 and Wake 3-0 last weekend.

With Seton Hall's upset of second-seeded Virginia, UNC is assured home-field advantage until the final four. The Tar Heels are 10-0 at Fetzer Field this season.

"It's not an advantage if you lose," Bolowich said. "I see it as an advantage to play the next game at home again, and hopefully we can survive and advance past that one."

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