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The Daily Tar Heel

Nogueira UNC down Illini

Casey Nogueira scored her 23rd goal of the season Sunday in UNC?s 3-0 defeat of Illinois. UNC has out-scored opponents 84-14 this year.

A year ago today the North Carolina women's soccer team saw its season come to a close in only the third round of the NCAA tournament. Those Tar Heels were stunned as they took  the earliest exit from the postseason in school history.

Sunday the 2008 Tar Heels  were all smiles as they cleared that hurdle with a 3-0 win against Illinois (12-9-2). UNC easily advanced to the round of eight with teamwork and a bit of luck.

With the game scoreless late in the first half Tobin Heath found Casey Nogueira running into the box and fed her the ball.

Nogueira's low shot was saved by the Illini keeper but it rolled out to the left where Illinois defender Emily Zurrer inadvertently tapped it straight back into Illinois' goal.

Nogueira the ACC's Offensive Player of the Year" gave the credit to her teammate.

""It was all basically Tobin. She was running across the midfield" and I knew she was looking for someone to get in or someone to get wide Nogueira said. So I just ran across the defense and she found a seam" and luckily I was onsides.""

Nogueira had 10 of the Tar Heels' 17 shots and was responsible for two of the three goals.

But even as the centerpiece of UNC's offense" Nogueira wanted to point to teamwork as the reason for the team's success. And while team chemistry won't put anything on the scoreboard" all the Tar Heels (22-1-2) spoke about how well the squad worked together against the Illini.

""Really" when our back line is stepping up and our forwards are doubling back we have it easy midfielder Yael Averbuch said.

I mean yeah it's hard work for us closing people down but we're surrounded basically by our teammates who are working hard" so our job was not as hard today as it could have been.""

Averbuch broke a school record for starts with her 102nd consecutive game. But the senior was happy for freshman teammate Rachel Wood" who scored the second goal of her career to put the Tar Heels up 2-0.

Wood hit a long shot from 20 yards out on the left side all the way across the box" where it hit the right post and rolled in.

""Rachel's been working on it every day" with all of us and when she hit it I knew it was a good shot and it had a good chance of going in" Averbuch said.

That goal all but sealed the win as the Tar Heels had dominated ball control since the early minutes.

UNC led 12-1 in shots at the time of that score and played all of its reserves down the stretch.

Coach Anson Dorrance's only regret in the game was that it had to come at the expense of a friend. Janet Rayfield, the Illinois women's soccer coach, was Dorrance's first recruit at UNC and was a captain on the team that won the Tar Heels' first NCAA title in 1982.

The only Tar Heels to play the full 90 minutes during the chilly evening were the three members of the back line, who were able to lock down the Illini strikers for UNC's seventh straight shutout.

But center back Whitney Engen placed the credit on the reserves.

They play defense" and they win all the balls up front and they tackle hard Engen said.

When they do that" it makes our job so easy. A shutout isn't just the defense's win. It's a team effort.""

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