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Brigman a key piece in UNC’s win against NC State

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UNC women's soccer defeated Houston 6-1 on Sunday, August 28, 2011.

As recently as 2009, Megan Brigman didn’t figure she would play much of a role in the future of North Carolina women’s soccer.

Coach Anson Dorrance’s hopes of turning the all-state striker into a defender for the Tar Heels had netted Brigman just 36 minutes of playing time all season, but Dorrance had a plan for the Laurinburg, N.C., native during the summer leading into her sophomore season.

“I think we can make your kid into a player. Just turn her over to me, make her my indentured servant,” Dorrance jokingly told Brigman’s father.

“We’ll bring her into soccer camp, and she’ll train with us all summer. I promise you it’s going to make a difference.”

One year later, Brigman is a critical piece of the UNC roster, a fact that was evident in the Tar Heels’ 5-1 victory against N.C. State on Friday.

The junior back struck a 25-yard blast for the game-winning goal, her third tally of the season, and coordinated an inexperienced backline that muzzled the Wolfpack attack throughout the latter 70 minutes of UNC’s win.

“Brigman’s improvement since she got here is off the charts,” Dorrance said.

“Her freshman year she played just 36 minutes. Last year she played more minutes than anyone on the roster.”

Ironically, it was a lapse in focus from Brigman and the UNC defense that allowed the Wolfpack to get on the board first in Friday’s game. Julia Sandridge’s shot was deflected off the crossbar by UNC keeper Adelaide Gay, but the Tar Heels failed to track back for the rebound, leaving Stephanie Bronson all alone inside the 18-yard box to slot the ball past Gay into the lower left netting.

“Their goal was one of our mistakes,” Brigman said.

“We talked in pregame about us following up and helping the keeper out. We just had a slip there, and they scored, and it was kind of a shocker to us.”

Brigman then smashed a 25-yard frozen rope to the bottom left corner of the net in the 42nd minute to put the Tar Heels up 2-1 at the half.

UNC

The Tar Heels outshot N.C. State 13-2 in the period, and when Maria Lubrano’s curling blast in the 67th minute found the top left corner of the goal, the Wolfpack appeared deflated.

Contact the Sports Editor
at sports@dailytarheel.com.

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