North Carolina beats Miami (Fla.) 3-0 to earn ACC regular season crown


CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Fifth-ranked North Carolina emerged victorious against Miami (Fla.) 3-0 Sunday afternoon at Fetzer Field.

After a slow start, Carolina got on the board via a penalty kick by Paige Nielsen in the 29th minute and then got second half goals from Emily Bruder and Megan Buckingham to finally put away the Hurricanes, who did their best to pressure the UNC goal all day.

Seven seniors played their final regular season home game at Fetzer Field and senior co-captain Brooke Elby, who tore an ACL last month against NC State, received an honorary start before coming off the pitch in the first minute.

With today’s win over Syracuse we are regular season ACC Champions! #GoHeels

— UNC Women’s Soccer (@UNCwomensSoccer) November 2, 2014

UNC’s Nielsen was taken down in the penalty area as she was slicing through two defenders at the 15-yard line with the chance for a one-on-one opportunity with Miami goalkeeper Emilly Lillard. Nielson then knocked the 12-yard penalty kick into the lower right side of the net for her third goal of the season.

Miami’s best chance of the first half came at 42:25 when Katie Bourgeois won a 50-50 ball at the top of the box but her shot sailed high.

Early in the second half, Joanna Boyles found Bruder with a perfect through ball that she finished past Lillard into the upper left 90 of the frame. It was Bruder’s team-leading fifth goal of the season, all in the past four games.

In the 77th minute, UNC struck for its third goal to put the game away. Satara Murray hustled to earn possession 10 yards into the attacking end and sent a ball down the right side to Cameron Castleberry. Casteberry carried the ball to the end line and centered a cross to Buckingham, whose header went off the right post, caromed off the Miami goalie and spurted into the left side of the goal.

The win keeps UNC tied atop the Atlantic Coastal Conference standings at 8-0-1 with Florida State. Carolina has one more regular-season match left when it plays at Syracuse next Sunday at 1 p.m. Carolina is 11-2-2 overall and has gone 10-0-1 in its past 11 matches. Miami is 3-13-1 and 1-7-1 in the ACC but it has played a lot of close matches all season.

Carolina finished with a 17-5 edge in shots and a 6-0 advantage in corner kicks. The victory was the fifth consecutive for Carolina against Miami since 2010.

Scott Harrigan
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