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The Daily Tar Heel

Women’s soccer team moves onto NCAA quarterfinals

After his team defeated Maryland on Saturday for the third time in as many weeks, North Carolina women’s soccer coach Anson Dorrance was not shy about the challenge of facing a team three times in one season.

“It’s a royal pain,” he said. “It’s the nature of the quality of the league that we’re going to face a team possibly three times. And it’s no fun, trust me.”

But when senior forward Casey Nogueira fired in a laser from 25 yards in the 82nd minute, it gave UNC the lead and its third win against Maryland this season. Saturday’s win sent UNC to the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals.

And it was no surprise to Dorrance that the Tar Heels’ 1-0 win in the third round of the tournament was their hardest yet.

“They went after us from the kickoff,” Dorrance said.

“I could really sense an aggressive posture from Maryland even before the game.”

The teams traded good plays on offense and defense as the familiar foes tried to wrestle the momentum away long enough to put one in the back of the net.

UNC appeared to win the battle in the 55th minute when senior All-American Tobin Heath punched one in from the box.

But the celebration was short-lived as the referee ruled the ball was out of bounds before it was passed to Heath.

“Courtney Jones made a great effort to try to keep it in bounds, and it would have been nice to get another one,” she said. “But I wasn’t surprised.”

And with that, the battle raged on for another 27 minutes before Nogueira was finally able to score the first point of the game. Senior goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris and the defense took over from there as UNC posted its eighth consecutive shutout to move on to the NCAA quarterfinals.

And the Tar Heels had nothing but high praise for their opponent after the third and most difficult clash.

“They’re solid,” Nogueira said. “They’re very physical and fast, and they’re good players. So it was a battle.”

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