North Carolina's O'Reilly is tough on Irish as Tar Heels win -
North Carolina’s Heather O’Reilly (right) battles Haley Ford of Notre Dame for possession during the Women’s College Cup final. O’Reilly scored one of the Tar Heels’ two goals as North Carolina won its 18th championship in 25 years.
After a three-year hiatus, the North Carolina Tar Heels are back on top of the women’s soccer world, reclaiming the national title with a 2-1 victory over Notre Dame in the Women’s College Cup final December 2 at the SAS Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina. The Tar Heels have won 18 national championships.
The NCAA has sponsored women’s championships for 25 years, and in that time, North Carolina has become synonymous with women’s soccer. The Tar Heels won the first three Division I national titles and 11 of the first 12.
Senior forward Heather O’Reilly led the way in the 2006 championship game, scoring the team’s first goal in the 18th minute on a feed from freshman Casey Nogueira. O’Reilly drew Notre Dame goalkeeper Lauren Karas out of the box and lofted the ball over three defenders into the empty net.
Nogueira and O’Reilly hooked up again early in the second half, this time with the freshman finding the back of the net on a feed from O’Reilly and freshman Whitney Engen.
Notre Dame scored its lone goal in the 81st minute as Brittany Bock connected on a pass from sophomore Kerri Hanks.
O’Reilly finished the season as North Carolina’s leading scorer, tallying 40 points on 12 goals and 16 assists. The tournament’s most outstanding offensive player, O’Reilly moved into 10th place on the school’s all-time scoring list with her first-half goal, the 15th of her NCAA tournament career.
“Her junior year she spent winning a spot as a starter on the full U.S. National Team, which is the greatest team in the world,” said North Carolina head coach Anson Dorrance. “And then her senior year she comes back to us and basically leads us to a national championship. I think that’s a pretty above-average resume.”
North Carolina junior defender Robyn Gayle was selected as the tournament’s most outstanding defensive player. Sophomore Yael Averbuch and freshmen Tobin Heath, Kristi Eveland and Nogueira all earned all-tournament honors for the Tar Heels.
Before the championship game, Notre Dame’s Hanks won the prestigious Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy, honoring the nation’s top player. Hanks became the youngest player — male or female — to win the award.
Hanks led the nation in goals and assists, registering 22 in each category. She is just the 11th player in Division I history to score 20 goals and 20 assists in a single season.
North Carolina last won the national championship in 2003, beating Connecticut, 6-0, in the title game. The Tar Heels finished the 2003 campaign a perfect 27-0 and although they weren’t perfect in 2006, North Carolina did win its final 27 games.
In the opening game of the season, North Carolina suffered a 1-0 double-overtime loss at Texas A&M. The Tar Heels got their revenge during the postseason, beating the Aggies in the quarterfinals, 3-2.
North Carolina outscored its opponents 22-5 during the tournament, defeating UNC Asheville, Navy, Tennessee, Texas A&M and UCLA before topping Notre Dame.
North Carolina 3, Texas A&M 2; UCLA 2, Portland 1; Florida St. 2, Clemson 1; Notre Dame 4, Penn St. 0.
UCLA 0 0 — 0
North Carolina 0 2 — 2
Second half: NC — Casey Nogueira (Yael Averbuch), 83:31; NC — Heather O’Reilly (Averbuch, Kristi Eveland), 85:50.
Shots: UCLA 10, North Carolina 15. Goalkeeper saves: UCLA (Valerie Henderson) 5; North Carolina (Anna Rodenbough 0; Ashlyn Harris 2) 2. Corner kicks: UCLA, 2; North Carolina 10.
Florida St. 0 1 — 1
Notre Dame 2 0 — 2
First half: ND — Courtney Rosen, 35:32; ND — Jill Krivacek (Brittany Bock, Kerri Hanks), 38:21.
Second half: FS — India Trotter (Kelly Rowland), 51:22.
Shots: Florida St. 10, Notre Dame 15. Goalkeeper saves: Florida St. (Ali Mims 7; Libby Gianeskis 1) 8; Notre Dame (Lauren Karas) 1. Corner kicks: Florida St. 8, Notre Dame 3.
Notre Dame 0 1 — 1
North Carolina 1 1 — 2
First half: NC — Heather O’Reilly (Casey Nogueira), 17:57.
Second half: NC — Nogueira (Whitney Engen, O’Reilly), 46:28; ND — Brittany Bock (Kerri Hanks), 80:30.
Shots: Notre Dame 9, North Carolina 20.
Goalkeeper saves: Notre Dame 5 (Lauren Karas); North Carolina (Anna Rodenbough 1; Ashlyn Harris 1) 2. Corner kicks: Notre Dame 1, North Carolina 2.