North Carolina’s defense held the Cardinal to just three shots on the afternoon — only one of which came after halftime. The stout defense led to an easy afternoon for goalie Shannon Johnson, who did her part by saving a shot that the Cardinal put on target. The Tar Heel defense also held Stanford to just two corners as well, with neither coming in the second half. Captain Julia Young was voted as the player of the game by the UNC team as she anchored the back line today, as she has done all season.
Passing and composure were huge for the Tar Heels in this one. Coach Karen Shelton was pleased with the way UNC passed and had quick touches on the ball, opening up the offense.
When was it decided?
While van’t Hoog’s goal set the tone for UNC, it was not the deciding factor in the game. Shelton attributed the defensive effort for UNC and the second goal as the real game-changers. Stanford’s goalie Kelsey Bing played great in the second half — she saved five of six shots. Hoffman’s goal to end the first half ultimately gave UNC breathing room, and the defense handled things from there.
Why does it matter?
With the win UNC finds itself one game away from its eighth straight Final Four berth. The victory also serves as a nice bounce back game coming off of the 4-2 loss to Virginia in the ACC title match last Sunday. UNC saw a huge turnaround from Sunday. In the match against Virginia, UNC was outshot and out-cornered for the first time all season. Against Stanford, UNC’s offensive aggression turned that around. The Tar Heels outshot Stanford 17-3, while also taking more corners than the Cardinal in 7-2 fashion.
Where do they play next?
The Tar Heel take on No. 2 Maryland tomorrow at 2 p.m. The winner of that contest will move on to the Final Four in Norfolk, Virginia.