The Daily Tar Heel

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Thursday May 19th

Ramsey Perfects Offensive Niche

It wasn't her speed. She still claims to have a sluggish acceleration rate followed by a constant speedy pace. And the change had little to do with the Justin Timberlake tunes she pops in the CD player in preparation for most of North Carolina's games.

Instead, the junior forward has noticed a shift in her mobility, putting her where she needs to be at the optimal moment.

"And because of that, I think I'm getting the ball more often, which is giving me the opportunity to make more things happen," Ramsey said. "I don't know. I don't think it was just a switch that one day I decided to turn on. About the time we played Wake Forest, right before the ACC Tournament, is about when it happened.

"Ever since then, I've just continued doing it. I don't know where it came from, but I'm glad I decided to become more mobile because obviously things are starting to happen."

Obviously.

In NCAA Tournament play alone this season, Ramsey has scored three goals and had two assists. Her 17 goals lead the team, while her 12 assists place second, just behind Susan Bush and Lindsay Tarpley, both of whom are tied at 15.

Last week was no different for Ramsey, and at the close of UNC's quarterfinal match against Texas A&M on Friday the junior had earned two goals and one assist. Her goals lifted the Tar Heels to a Final Four game against Santa Clara.

After that matchup, the lights dimmed on Fetzer Field and a few of the Tar Heels lingered, socializing with friends and family.

Senior Leslie Gaston jokingly bumped into Ramsey, calling the 5-foot-9 forward a bully.

"She's a bully because she beats up on me all the time," Gaston said. "Any chance she gets. She kicks balls at me as hard as she can. She tries to pick me up and throw me on my head."

Ramsey grinned but added a reassuring, "Leslie instigates it, don't worry."

Joking aside, Gaston said Ramsey's presence up top gives her a sense of confidence.

"I love having the ball at Alyssa's feet because I know that when she takes a shot on goal it's going to be a very placed shot," Gaston said.

Ramsey's placement has been tested both in and outside of conference play.

"She's always been an extraordinary finisher," said North Carolina women's soccer coach Anson Dorrance. "She doesn't shoot enough in my opinion, but when she shoots, it's not an accident."

Ramsey proved how deadly her accuracy can be in Friday's bout with the Aggies, when she notched a goal in the first 22 seconds of the game. Although the goal was the result of a team effort, it was Ramsey who put on the finishing touches.

However, Dorrance said what's impressed him hasn't necessarily been Ramsey's accuracy.

"The thing I like about what she's done this year is she's added pieces to her game," Dorrance said. "She's become very good in the air. She's learning to use her strength better in tackles and in holding the ball. She's becoming a better defensive presence, and I think she's evolving into a more sophisticated and more well-rounded player."

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

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