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The Daily Tar Heel

Women's Soccer Blanks Opponents in NCAAs

The Tar Heels have shut out their last six opponents, not allowing a goal since their Nov. 1 match against N.C. State.

Since then, North Carolina has compiled more than 540 straight scoreless minutes, most of it behind the goalkeeping of backup Kristin DePlatchett.

North Carolina (21-0) blanked UNC-Greensboro 3-0 during Friday's first-round NCAA Tournament match at Fetzer Field.

UNC then shut out Duke 2-0 in Sunday's second-round match. The Tar Heels will play Rutgers in the third round at Fetzer Field at 2 p.m. Saturday.

"Scoring is so variable," UNC coach Anson Dorrance said. "What you can rely on though is your defense playing well.

"I think that's critical to any championship run is to have a great defense because that's something you can bring to any game. You never know if your offense is going to be there."

That was the case during the first 20 minutes of Sunday's match.

Duke (8-10-1), the only team invited to the tournament with a losing record, pressured UNC, forcing several goalie kicks in the game's opening minutes -- this from a Blue Devil team that played

a 150-minute game against Tennessee on Friday night.

"It looked like we were the ones who played four overtime periods," Dorrance said. "They looked like they had the energy, and it looked like we didn't."

But Jordan Walker's goal in the 26th minute gave UNC the lifted it needed and deflated Duke.

Anne Felts tipped an Alyssa Ramsey centering pass to Walker, who pounded the ball into the lower right-hand corner of the net.

After the goal, UNC's defense clamped down, stopping Duke from penetrating deep into its zone.

"I really thought the first 20 to 25 minutes we were really playing well," Duke coach Robbie Church said. "We were staying with them. I was a little disappointed in our intensity when they scored the first goal. We thought we dropped at that point."

Sophomore midfielder Maggie Tomecka put the Tar Heels up two with a header in the 35th minute.

The rest of the game was classic UNC.

North Carolina controlled the entire field, stopping the Blue Devils once they crossed the center line and counter-attacking with sideline passes to midfielders Jena Kluegel and Sara Randolph.

Duke even switched All-Conference goalie Thora Helgadottir to forward in hopes of providing an offensive spark in the game's waning minutes.

But North Carolina's scoreless streak continued.

"To Kristen's credit, her game was a shutout," Dorrance said. "You don't get any better than that in goal."

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