The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday December 7th

Tarpley Shines in Collegiate Debut

This weekend the UNC freshman was running circles around an overmatched Guilford squad and finding open shots against a pesky Washington team.

"Being with the under-19 team has certainly helped prepare me for the college game," Tarpley said.

She was more than prepared for this weekend's Carolina/Nike Classic.

The UNC forward, who missed the Tar Heels' first two games to play with the national team, scored three goals on 10 shots and picked up an assist during the two weekend contests -- her first two collegiate games.

The North Carolina women's' soccer team defeated Washington 5-1 on Sunday and Guilford College 9-0 on Friday. Tarpley was instrumental in both wins, but shied away from taking credit.

"It's a team effort," Tarpley said. "If we're moving the ball well, we're creating a lot of good opportunities and chances."

Tarpley proved both evasive and tough against Washington.

Late in the first frame, Tarpley missed a scoring opportunity but immediately made up for the miscue.

She misplayed a cross that drew the Husky goalkeeper away from the goal. Just minutes later, though, she headed in a cross from junior forward Elizabeth Ball.

Then, in the second half, as she went up for a header near the Washington goal, she collided in mid-air with the goalkeeper and fell hard to the ground.

But Tarpley bounced back up and showed no ill effects from the collision.

"She's a wonderful player," said UNC head coach Anson Dorrance. "She's very mobile and very smart tactically. She's an exquisite striker."

Tarpley, part of the Tar Heels' highly touted freshmen class, is one of four North Carolina newcomers who played on the U-19 team. That experience helped her quickly adjust to the level of play at UNC.

"You're playing with high-level players, and you have the opportunity to just play," Tarpley said. "That's the best part, knowing that no matter where you play, it's the same game."

The group of talented freshmen, which combined for four goals and three assists in the two weekend games, has caught the attention of its teammates.

"Their potential is endless," said senior forward Susan Bush, who also has national team experience. "They're tough, quick, fast. We aren't going to win this year without them."

And while winning another national championship is the ultimate goal for this team, just playing for UNC has been a dream realized for Tarpley.

"I'm still shocked," Tarpley said. "I've dreamed my entire life about being at Carolina."

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

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