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The Daily Tar Heel

Physical play marks semifinal game

CARY – North Carolina advanced to the national championship game of women's soccer Friday on the narrowest of margins.
Neither UNC nor UCLA had dominance on the field and the lone goal game out of a penalty kick in the 41st minute – a rare opportunity and a fortunate one for the Tar Heels.
The call wasn't necessarily fortunate.
Defender Erin Hardy took out UNC's Brittani Bartok in heavy traffic in the very center of the penalty box on one of the Tar Heels' better chances of the game" and Yael Averbuch
buried the penalty shot.
""We had talked about how solid their defense was" so we were prepared to be able to take advantage of any opportunities that we got and that was the opportunity that we got so we were ready for it" Averbuch said.
But it wasn't the only hard foul of the game. The Bruins (16 fouls) and the Tar Heels (17) each dealt their fair share of contact early and often. The Tar Heels could consider themselves lucky that the one foul that ended up causing a penalty kick went their way.
In just the 11th minute, forward Courtney Jones was taken down while running full speed only 10 yards outside the left corner of the box. That play led to a free kick by Casey Nogueira that went wide right.
Just five minutes later, UNC defender Rachel Givan was called for committing a foul only a few feet from the side of the Tar Heels' box for what was effectively a close-range corner kick. But the free kick from UCLA's Lauren Barnes went long across the box and out of danger.
The Bruins had another free kick after a UNC foul in the 34th minute, this time a few yards outside the top corner of the box. Again, they couldn't make the finishing play.
When someone sees a scoreline 1-0" the presumption is we shut them out. We didn't
really just on the scoreboard" coach Anson Dorrance said. They created several great
chances. They could easily have finished one.""
The hard play continued into the second half as once the Bruins trailed" they picked up
the intensity.
In the 54th minute a Whitney Engen foul just a couple feet outside the right corner of
the UNC box gave UCLA's Barnes another chance but her free kick was caught by goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris and cleared.
The Bruins were not without their chances in the closing moments. With just under six
minutes to play a UCLA free kick from the dead center of the field near the midline came
dangerously close.
The ball found the head of forward Lauren Cheney but she couldn't get much speed on it
and Harris scooped it up off the ground for her third save.
After that play" the Tar Heel forwards rushed the Bruins' defenders and kept them from
finding their front line for a few more precious minutes.
""Our plan is to try to play at least six frontrunners a game" Dorrance said of his forwards. I think in today's game we played seven" and by the time we got them out they were all absolutely exhausted.""
But on UCLA's final possession" starting on a goal kick with 60 seconds left on the clock UNC midfielder Ali Hawkins headed three passes back into the Bruins' side of the field to deny the PAC-10 champions an opportunity.
Dorrance said he considered his team fortunate to walk out with the win. And against a UCLA team that had given up only five goals all season the margin was exactly what could have been expected.

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