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No. 1 Seed North Carolina Moves Past Liberty in NCAA First Round
Making its first NCAA appearance since 2005, the Liberty women's soccer team squared off with No. 1 seed North Carolina at Fetzer Field, Saturday afternoon, in the first round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament. Head coach Jessica Hain's squad put up a valiant effort during the 90-minute match, but the Tar Heels (18-4) proved why they have captured 21 of 31 national championships, taking the contest, 4-0.
Liberty ends its season with a 16-6-1 mark, setting a new single-season program record for most wins. Defensively, the Lady Flames' program-best 14 shutouts also tied a Big South record.
Three North Carolina players posted goals on the afternoon – Kealia Ohai (two), Paige Nielsen and Cameron Castleberry. Summer Green and Megan Brigman each garnered two assists, while Nielsen also chipped in one.
Goalkeeper Holly Van Noord played the full contest in between the pipes for Liberty, finishing with eight saves.
After breaking the Liberty single-season shutout record on Oct. 16, Van Noord concludes the season with a school and conference-best 14 clean sheets. Tar Heel netminder Anna Sieloff also played the entire contest in goal, making one save.
Midfielder Brittany Aanderud also cemented her name in the program record books, this season, closing the year with a single-season school record 10 assists. The sophomore ends 2013 at No. 3 all-time in program history with 15 helpers.
Senior defender Casey Norris' collegiate career comes to an end after playing in a program record 84 contests, surpassing the previous record holder, Liberty Athletics Hall of Famer Nancy Davis (1998-2001, 78 contests) earlier this season.
North Carolina outshot Liberty in the contest, 23-3, and held a 6-1 advantage in corner kicks.
In the opening period, the Liberty defense was able to hold off intense offensive pressure by the defending champions for the majority of the 45-minute span.
The Tar Heels lit up the scoreboard in the 15th minute. Inside Liberty territory, Green was able to intercept the ball from the Lady Flames' defense and dish it to Ohai, who finished the play from 10 yards out. Ohai's ninth marker of the season put the hosts ahead, 1-0.
Liberty had its best look at a goal in the 20th minute. Aanderud fired a shot from the top of the 18-yard box, but Sieloff corralled the attempt, allowing the Tar Heels to maintain their one-goal edge.
Van Noord put her goalkeeping skills on display in the final 16 minutes, making a trio of impressive saves off shots by Amber Munerlyn, Paige Nielsen and Ohai. Van Noord's final save of the period came in the 38th minute, setting up a 1-0 halftime score in favor of North Carolina.
In the second half, The Tar Heels wasted little time adding an insurance goal in the 51st minute. Ohai was the benefactor again, receiving a pass from Brigman to boot the ball in from 15 yards out.
North Carolina added to its lead in the 68th minute off a Nielsen goal and another Green assist to take a three-goal lead.
The Tar Heels concluded their scoring on the afternoon in the 82nd minute. Castleberry managed to head the ball into the left side of the net after receiving assists from Nielsen and Brigman, ultimately setting up the 4-0 final.