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The Daily Tar Heel

Wolfpack Upsets Top-Ranked UNC

The Wolfpack notched an early goal in Thursday's game at SAS Stadium and went on to defeat the Tar Heels 2-1.

UNC (10-1-2, 0-1 in the ACC) showed more than one moment of weakness as the Wolfpack (8-3-1, 2-0-1) made itself only the fifth team to upset the Tar Heels in 117 ACC games.

Less than two minutes into the match, State found a hole in UNC's defense. Wolfpack forward Adrienne Barnes reacted to ball a deflected off goalkeeper Aly Winget and returned the shot for an unassisted goal.

"The first goal was miscommunication between our goalkeeper and defender," said UNC midfielder Maggie Tomecka. "It was just an unlucky goal."

After State took the early lead, the Tar Heels struggled to regain a sense of composure that had eluded them since before the first whistle. The team arrived late to SAS Stadium due to traffic and bad weather.

And while UNC stood off its usually stately guard, State rose to the occasion. Wolfpack goalkeeper Gretchen Lear tied an ACC record with 19 saves.

Wolfpack coach Laura Kerrigan said she was impressed by Lear's performance, especially after a particularly rough game against Maryland last week.

"For her to come up with this type of performance after being injured almost the whole week was unbelievable to me," Kerrigan said. "She really shows what she's made of."

Coming out of the half, UNC coach Anson Dorrance replaced Winget with veteran Jenni Branam, who has been battling a nagging knee injury all season.

"Coach put me out there for my leg to launch some balls into the box," Branam said. "Unfortunately, I never got the chance to use my leg. It's my biggest weapon."

UNC finally got on the board in the 56th minute when freshman forward Lindsay Tarpley finished a cross from Elizabeth Ball. Tarpley nailed the shot, which went just over the outstretched hands of Lear.

But the momentum wouldn't last. Just minutes after Dorrance opted to sub Winget back in the game to prevent Branam from reinjuring her knee, the Wolfpack made another charge.

With the clock at 64:55, Barnes assisted forward Lindsey Underwood, who placed the ball past Winget for her fourth game winner this season.

"Your confidence has to skyrocket on something like this, so obviously UNC is a great team so we'll take it," Kerrigan said.

However high the Wolfpack is soaring, several Tar Heels said they will use the loss for motivation.

Branam said, "A loss can send a team downhill, but not our team."

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

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