The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday May 31st

UNC women’s soccer team eyes postseason play

Alexa Newfield (88) keeps the ball away from Clemson player Jenna Weston (20).
Buy Photos Alexa Newfield (88) keeps the ball away from Clemson player Jenna Weston (20).

The No. 9 Tar Heels (13-3-1, 6-3-0 ACC) honored their seniors — Bryane Heaberlin, Summer Green, Katie Bowen, Paige Nielsen and Alexa Newfield — with a small flower ceremony before Sunday’s 1-0 win over the No. 6 Clemson Tigers.

But Coach Anson Dorrance said the flowers were more than just a formality.

“I am big on flowers,” he said. “I think athletics is all about renewal and the nice thing about a flower is that it dies so there has to be renewal.”

“A part of the renewal we want the seniors to have with us is that we want them to stay in touch with us. We want this to be their home away from home.”

And the seniors weren’t ready to leave their North Carolina home with another loss.

The team also found extra motivation from lagging behind Clemson (12-3-1, 6-3-0 ACC) in the ACC standings. Only four teams make the ACC Tournament at the end of the season. Before the game, Clemson was fourth and UNC fifth.

The Tar Heels were determined not to be left out in the cold.

Nielsen led a strong defensive push for the Tar Heels in the first half, helping to suffocate the Tigers’ front line and keep the game scoreless.

On the other half of the field, Newfield drilled cross after cross into the box, but UNC couldn’t capitalize with a goal.

The Tar Heels had a 3-2 edge in shots at the end of the first half, but couldn’t find the back of the net.

It was sophomore forward Jessie Scarpa who scored the only goal of the game. She received a pass from junior midfielder Joanna Boyles in the box and knocked the ball into the back of the net. The goal gave the Tar Heels a 1-0 lead and the seniors a victory.

“One of our mottos is we play every game for our seniors,” Scarpa said. “And there was some pressure because if we win the rest of the games of the season we make the ACC Tournament.”

In Green’s sentimental senior game, she helped lead a strong offensive attack that pressured Clemson from the first whistle.

“Everyone fought and won their battle in the field — it was just a collective team effort,” Green said. “(It was) a way to turn around our season, I think. We really needed it.”

The senior forward fought her way back into the starting lineup earlier this season, and ranks third on the team in goals scored with six. The Tar Heels won the national championship in Green’s first year in 2012, and she’s eager to go back


With Sunday’s win, the Tar Heels moved one step closer. UNC tied Clemson for fourth place in the ACC.

The team hopes to give their seniors many more games to play in the postseason.

Dorrance echoed this sentiment.

“We want them to stay with us forever.”



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