SPORTS


8/29/2001 12:00am

Thornton Relishes New Starring Role

Senior linebacker David Thornton never dreamed of sitting in a room with more than 20 reporters. But after the former walk-on's performance in the North Carolina football team's season debut against Oklahoma, there he was, the player of choice at UNC coach John Bunting's weekly Tuesday press conference. "I never imagined having to give interviews or anything like that," a wide-eyed Thornton said. "I don't consider myself anybody special."


8/29/2001 12:00am

Men's Soccer Gets Defensive in '01

A season ago, the North Carolina men's soccer team featured one of the nation's most feared offensive attacks, sparked by the country's leading scorer, Chris Carrieri. The Tar Heel defense, which allowed just 18 goals in 24 games, went largely unheralded as Carrieri, Michael Bucy, Caleb Norkus and Logan Pause paced a squad that scored more goals than any other in school history. Since then, Bucy graduated, Carrieri and Norkus were drafted into Major League Soccer, and Pause tore the meniscus in his left knee.


8/28/2001 12:00am

Peppers' Eye Leads to INT

Julius Peppers said when an OU lineman tried to cut-block him, he knew what play the Sooners were running. NORMAN, Okla. - There are many things you can try to do in life. Cut-blocking Julius Peppers should not be one of them. But that's exactly what Oklahoma offensive lineman Frank Romero attempted near the end of the first quarter of the Sooners' 41-27 win against North Carolina on Saturday night.


8/27/2001 12:00am

Tar Heels Make Costly Mistakes

NORMAN, Okla. -- For John Bunting, the end of his first quarter as head coach of the North Carolina football team just couldn't come soon enough. Three turnovers and a virtually insurmountable deficit will do that sometimes. "It was the longest first quarter I've ever been a part of in my life," said Bunting, a linebacker for the Tar Heels from 1969 to 1971. "I didn't think it was going to end. I thought maybe they were adding time to the clock."


8/27/2001 12:00am

UNC's Tennis Team Releases Schedule

The North Carolina men's tennis team recently released the squad's 2001 fall schedule. The Tar Heels open their season at the Southern Collegiates Tournament in Athens, Ga., Sept. 21-23. After several Intercollegiate Tennis Association-sponsored events, UNC will head to Columbia, S.C., for the USC Fall Invitational on Oct. 19. North Carolina's only home match will be from Oct. 24-28 in the Top of the Hill Region Championships. UNC Swimmers Star in Classroom


8/27/2001 12:00am

Durant Shines in Debut As Curry Falters

NORMAN, Okla. -- Quarterback controversy? Could be a bit premature. Quarterback intrigue? That sounds more like it. The speculation about the starting quarterback job for the North Carolina football team officially began in the Tar Heels' 41-27 loss to No. 3 Oklahoma on Saturday night. In one corner: Ronald Curry, senior. In the other: Darian Durant, redshirt freshman.

8/27/2001 12:00am

Field Hockey, Men's Soccer Score Road Victories

The North Carolina field hockey team opened its season Saturday afternoon with a 4-0 win against Connecticut in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. The game was a homecoming for UNC senior midfielder Abby Martin, who is from Saratoga Springs. She scored the Tar Heels' first goal 26:02 into the first half. Martin, a third-team All-American, scored on a penalty stroke. Senior Abbey Woolley scored the second goal on an assist from freshman Charlotte Plugge with 8:03 left in the first half.


8/27/2001 12:00am

Lack of Fitness Leads to Women's Soccer Loss

Certain members of the North Carolina women's soccer team spent too much time this summer sitting on their couches eating bonbons, said UNC coach Anson Dorrance. And in the top-ranked, defending national champion Tar Heels' 1-0 loss to No. 5 Nebraska, UNC's lack of fitness was apparent and crippling. "One of the things we weren't happy with coming into the preseason was our fitness base," Dorrance said. "They exposed that."


8/24/2001 12:00am

Unit Hopes Preseason Meetings Pay Off

Jeff Reed knows exactly what John Lafferty's going through. In fact, he feels pretty much like they're in the same position. Reed, a senior kicker, had never kicked a game in Kenan Stadium before 2000 but came into that season knowing he was The Guy. Lafferty's 2000 involved fighting for punting time against Blake Ferguson. He started three games before mononucle-osiscut his season short. Ferguson was slated to be the starter opening day, but abruptly left the program and the University on Aug. 12.


8/24/2001 12:00am

UVa. Graduate Groh Returns to Guide Cavs

No matter how much he tries to downplay it, Al Groh has returned home to Virginia. Groh, who graduated in Charlottesville in 1967 after a career at UVa. at defensive end, moves from the AFC East sidelines to ACC pastures. In the Cavaliers, Groh inherits a 6-6 squad that must replace key offensive and defensive losses. "We have an adage that `think players first, then plays,'" Groh said. "So whatever the particular skills of the players are and how quickly they pick things up will determine how fast we can move forward."


8/24/2001 12:00am

Response to Losing Will Define UNC's Season

North Carolina fans can mark Sept. 29 on their calendars. Not because it's the Tar Heels' annual rumble with rival N.C. State, but because it marks the end of the hell that will be the season's first five weeks and the start of UNC's real season. The Tar Heels butt heads with three of the nation's top six teams in those five weeks. How they handle getting their asses handed to them every other week will define their 2001 campaign.


8/24/2001 12:00am

Tar Heels Short on Depth at Quarterback

SportSaturday Editor North Carolina quarterback Ronald Curry is keeping an optimistic outlook on the season and his personal health. "Hopefully, I can play the whole season," said Curry, who ruptured his right Achilles tendon and missed the final six games of the 1999 season. "I'm playing for the team, not really playing for everybody else. I'm just going to do what the coaches ask. Everything's not going to be smooth sailing, so I've got to go out and do the best I can do."


8/24/2001 12:00am

Tech Within Reach of Top of Conference

Assistant SportSaturday Editor Georgia Tech has its best shot in years to win the ACC title. But a bowl game and one knee injury later, the Yellow Jackets (9-3 overall, 6-2 in the ACC) almost lost the momentum in 2001 to chase down ACC powerhouse Florida State. Tech lost last season's Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl game to Louisiana State, and starting quarterback George Godsey hurt his knee in the defeat. He missed spring practice, but he is back and expected to lead the Yellow Jackets again.


8/24/2001 12:00am

Grobe Looks to Return Wake to Postseason

Though no computer malfunctions rocked Wake Forest in 2000, the Demon Deacon football squad was nonetheless mired in a season-long blackout. After reaching the Aloha Bowl in 1999, Wake Forest was dealt the hand of inexperience in 2000. After quarterback C.J. Leak went down with a knee injury, the offense sputtered with an unseasoned backfield. The result was a disappointing 2-9 finish and the dismissal of coach Jim Caldwell. Twenty-one starters return to join a new coaching staff headed by former Ohio frontman Jim Grobe.


8/24/2001 12:00am

Sooner Crowd, `D' Await Tar Heels

Oklahoma's offensive line is a trouble spot for the Sooners, but their defense is among the nation's best. Game and time: North Carolina at No. 3 Oklahoma. Kickoff is at 7:45 p.m. EST. Site: Memorial Stadium. TV/radio: ESPN will televise the game nationally. The Tar Heel Sports Network will provide live radio coverage; its flagship station is WCHL1360 AM. Records: Season opener for both teams. Series: Oklahoma leads 6-0. Personnel update: North Carolina -- PK Jeff Reed (sprained ankle) is questionable. Oklahoma -- None reported.


8/24/2001 12:00am

Senior Metts Guides Young Offensive Line

Senior center Adam Metts anchors an inexperienced offensive line filled with four sophomores. By Brad Broders Assistant Sports Editor Senior center Adam Metts' tasks on the offensive line go way beyond snapping the football to quarterback Ronald Curry. It even goes beyond protecting Curry himself. Metts, the lone senior on North Carolina's offensive line, is also left the challenge of helping mentor the rest of Tar Heels' line, which is projected to start four sophomores.


8/24/2001 12:00am

Maryland Looks to Rebound

Assistant Sports Editor Maryland finally got its man to lead the team out of its storied football medi-ocrity. Now Ralph Friedgen just needs the players to make old dreams a reality. The architect of a potent attack while offensive coordinator at Georgia Tech, Friedgen is sure to open up the historically conservative, run-oriented Terrapins. Whether or not that will lead to more wins remains to be seen. The reliability of Maryland's defense will also be an issue throughout Friedgen's first season as head coach in College Park.


8/24/2001 12:00am

Rowing to Hold Interest Meeting Sunday

The information session is open to all undergraduate women, including those without any prior experience. The North Carolina women's rowing program will hold an information meeting at 7:30 p.m. Sunday for prospective members of the varsity team. All undergraduate women interested in trying out for the team are invited to attend the session, which will be held in 100 Hamilton Hall.


8/24/2001 12:00am

Long Year in Store for Duke

Assistant Sports Editor Disgraceful. Awful. Pathetic. All would be proper adjectives when discussing Duke football in 2000. Limping through their sixth consecutive losing campaign, the Blue Devils did little to help abate their offensive and defensive woes. They were outscored 430-155. They scored above 14 points only four times and allowed at least 20 points every game. They finished 0-11 overall and 0- 8 in the ACC.


8/24/2001 12:00am

Seminoles Hope to Avoid Topple From Top

The oft-sowed seeds of revolution are still waiting to take root. Since Florida State became an ACC football team in 1992, the rest of the league's football teams have been biding their time, waiting for a chance to rebel and oust Tallahassee's titans from the top of the conference. Sometimes it's a key injury that gives the others hope. Other times, it's a Seminole loss during the regular season.