For the second time in four days, the women’s soccer team kept second-ranked North Carolina close.
Unfortunately for the Hurricanes, the result remained the same as Miami (10-8-3) fell 1-0 to the Tar Heels (17-1-2) Wednesday afternoon in Cary, N.C., in the quarterfinal round of the ACC tournament.
Junior midfielder Tobin Heath scored the game winner off a pass from sophomore midfielder Meghan Klingenberg in the 67th minute for her eighth goal of the season.
On Sunday afternoon, the top seed’s deciding goal came with six minutes to play on a stolen goal kick by junior forward Casey Nogueira.
“We beat a very good defensive team,” North Carolina head coach Anson Dorrance said. “Miami makes it hard to move the ball, and their goalkeeper is superb. I pity the teams in Miami’s bracket in the NCAA tournament. They are very tough to beat.”
Freshman goalkeeper Vikki Alonzo made seven saves to increase her total to 109 on the year.
Over the past six matches, eighth-seeded Miami has allowed just two goals – both to the Tar Heels.
“Our defense has led us this season,” junior midfielder Beverly Goebel said. “We all defend and attack the ball.”
North Carolina held a 22-8 shot advantage, and, in the regular season finale, took 33 shots.
“I’m extremely proud of the team,” head coach Tricia Taliaferro said. “It’s a difficult task to play North Carolina back-to-back and to hold them to two goals. Our team takes pride in our defense and mentality.”
With 7:36 left, the Canes had their best opportunity when Goebel’s hard liner was blocked by Tar Heel senior keeper Anna Rodenbough.
Sophomore forward Brittney Steinbruch returned to action for nine minutes after missing the last nine games due to a hip injury and recorded a shot on goal with less than two minutes to play.
“We had really great chances and it was an even better game [than Sunday’s],” Goebel said. “Any time Brittney touches the ball something can happen. With everyone back, we can do it all together.”
The Hurricanes must wait until 8 p.m. Monday to see if they will make their second straight appearance in the NCAA tournament.
Last season, Miami lost on the road 3-0 to third-seeded Florida in the opening round.
“When I first got here, I wanted to build a good foundation and a consistent team,” Taliaferro said. “We’re starting to get there. Now it’s playing against these top teams and getting over the edge. I was disappointed that they were able to get that goal when we were pressing, but overall I was pleased with our performance today.”