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The Daily Tar Heel

Finishing Shots Continues to Plague UNC

UNC's demeanor seemed odd for a team named No. 1 seed for this weekend's ACC tournament.

But a glance at the scoreboard brings an understanding.

"We're not happy with tying," said senior Leslie Gaston. "We're not going to settle for tying, and I think the team is going to react very well as far as we're not going to settle with tying anymore."

The Tar Heels battled Maryland through two overtimes at Fetzer Field on Friday night. The game, which ended in a 1-1 tie, was UNC's last regular ACC match of the season and gave the Tar Heels the first seed in this weekend's conference tournament in Tallahassee, Fla.

Sophomore Anne Morrell first put the Tar Heels on the board with a goal in the first 14 minutes of the game.

Morrell dribbled through the cluttered box and pushed the ball to Lindsay Tarpley, who returned the pass to Morrell at the top of the inside box. Morrell kicked it above goalkeeper Kristen Barnhill who jumped upward, but missed the ball as it traveled under the crossbar.

UNC (14-1-4, 4-1-2 in the ACC) dominated play for a majority of the game, and went into halftime up 1-0 against Maryland (11-6-1, 3-3-1).

But in the first 10 minutes of the second half, the Terrapins struck in a rather unique way. On a Maryland throw-in, defender Lindsay Givens made the toss, hurling the ball from the sideline right into UNC's goal. The ball deflected off midfielder Anne Felts and went past Tar Heel goalkeeper Aly Winget.

"It was an awesome throw but I took the four steps of death where you step forward and then try to get back," Winget said. "And since I took those four steps, it killed me. I got a piece on it, just not enough."

No. 2 North Carolina kept the pressure on, firing nine shots at Barnhill in the second half. The problem wasn't Barnhill, however, it was the Tar Heels themselves. UNC outshot Maryland 19-14.

"I think we took some nice shots, we just need to hit the frame," said North Carolina coach Anson Dorrance. "We had a lot of chances inside the 16. Obviously, if you shoot some at the keeper that's not a good thing but you can't just miss the frame like we did today."

With about 10 minutes left in the match, Maryland's Ali Andrezejewski cracked a shot that sparked a sequence ending in stitches for UNC goalkeeper Jenni Branam. As senior defender Gaston attempted to clear the ball from the goal box, Terrapin Katie Ludwig slide tackled for possession, clipping Branam with her metal cleat. The contact lacerated Branam's forehead and required a trip to UNC Hospitals for Branam and a jersey change for Gaston.

The game continued to unfold with neither team converting its opportunities, finally ending with a tie when the final horn sounded.

Dorrance said the tie lacked appeal, but would help the Tar Heels prepare to perform in Thursday's ACC match.

"I think we go in obviously as the top seed so that shows the conference was certainly a success for us," Dorrance said. "I think if we play the way we did tonight with just a bit more finishing prowess I'll be ecstatic because we moved the ball pretty nicely."

The tie qualifies UNC for its most in school history, and gives No. 23 Maryland its best performance against the Tar Heels in Terrapin history.

"I'm frustrated with ties, and I'm ready to step up my games so we don't have ties anymore and I think the rest of the team is as well," Gaston said.

By stepping up their game, UNC plans to do a few things. One of which is keeping Tarpley at attacking centermidfielder.

"We think that was one of the best decisions we made all year in terms of putting people on the field," Dorrance said. "She is an absolute natural there things happen when she gets the ball. The other team has a harder time kicking her when she gets the ball right there which means we can afford to play her a lot more."

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

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