PRE – Stands look packed, as they should be for a game of this magnitude.
PRE – Why even bring up the Sandusky thing in the presume? I mean, was ANYONE thinking about this before this match?
PRE – Personally, I’m just happy the rain’s gone away. Made for a miserable semi-final round.
2′ – Murray hoofs it long, Ohai brings it down, cuts back across, and unleashes an unstoppable shot of the underside of the bar and over the line. THAT. WAS. SENSATIONAL! An unbelievable strike from Ohai, as good as any you’ll see at this level.
2′ – That being said, no excuse for Ohai to have that much time to work on the ball when PSU had a 2v1 against her defensively.
3′ – PSU already pressing very high up the pitch as they feel the urgency to get after it offensively.
6′ – Great lay off for Hayes to Nairn, but the senior midfielder hammers it high. Must do much better considering she was quite open.
9′ – Hayes misses a sitter from a wide cross. PSU has to convert those if they want to win. Gardner has to do a much better job of marking as well, as Hayes was wide open at the far post.
10′ – Meg Morris is playing very deep at the moment on UNC’s left flank. I’d expect the wide midfielders to be a little conservative now with a lead.
11′ – PSU looking very vulnerable from wide positions early. Carolina working the flanks and crossing it in repeatedly. Wide midfielders for Nittany Lions have to track back more.
12′ – Love seeing Ohai’s movement so far. She’s clearly working the flanks, especially down the left.
13′ – Through the early part of this one, it seems like UNC’s been given a clear directive to hit Ohai with quick, vertical balls to try and catch the PSU defense napping.
19′ – Nairn dances on the ball and delivers an incisive through ball, with Schram timing her run to perfection. Gay comes off her line but seemingly gets caught in two minds a bit, allowing Schram to lift it over her, sneaking it inside the far post. Brilliant finish.
22′ – Some comedy defending for a moment in the box for PSU, but they eventually scramble it away.
25′ – Missed UNC header leads to a 2v2 counter the other way, but Hayes takes a bit of a heavy touch, so the chance goes.
26′ – Gardner lunges in from behind on Weber and is lucky to escape a booking.
30′ – Hate how they are referring to Gay coming off her line quickly to be “her style”. Come on, have you seen UNC play before? Keepers HAVE to be quick off their line with the three defenders playing such a high line typically.
34′ – Somehow, Alyssa Rich is left wide open on the corner of the area, and she drills a half-volley that McNulty pushes wide at full stretch. Great save from a great effort after some not so great defending.
35′ – Yup. I suspected it a bit, but UNC’s gone to four at the back, with Gardner and Murray out wide. They look 4-2-3-1-ish, but I’m not making any big presumptive guesses.
36′ – So. What’s the over/under on minutes until the announcers mention UNC’s switched formations?
37′ – Ohai leading the line in the 4-2-3-1 but shuttling between flanks a bit too.
HALF – Kind of died a bit after PSU nailed the equalizer but still well positioned.
HALF – Might have missed it if they mentioned it at the half, but can’t believe there’s been no discussion of UNC’s formation switch. Seems like it’d be kind of an important thing to mention.
HALF – And Cat Whitehill mentions the formation switch. Did the other announcers mention it before, and I missed it? Great interviewing from Cat to get Anson to tell her about starting off this half in the 4-2-3-1.
46′ – Bang. Fabulous set piece goal from Carolina, as Gardner rises high to head in a corner kick. Penn State went with a hybrid zonal-man marking system but didn’t bother to pick up Gardner’s run, which was a mistake.
46′ – Another bad start to a half for Penn State. That could be very costly.
57′ – Looked like Ohai was leading the line for UNC early on, but Green, who played up top earlier in the year in the 4-2-3-1, has taken station there now, with Ohai sliding right.
57′ – Dunn dispossesses Hovington and has a clear lane towards goal but fires a rocket just wide. That would’ve likely been game over.
57′ – Turnovers in their own half really beginning to pile up for Penn State. They’ve got to pick themselves up if they want to equalize.
62′ – Murray drags Schram down by her shirt. No booking. Ridiculous.
64′ – Gardner is inexplicably left wide open on another corner kick. Murray has the ball bounce back to her in the goalmouth scramble, and she roofs it. The fat lady’s warming up. Utterly inexcusable that Gardner was left that open when she had scored from a corner just twenty minutes earlier.
67′ – Lubrano scrambles one in after a cross is bundled around, but the flag goes up. Penn State looks shell-shocked and fatigued.
71′ – PSU tries to lob it over Gay after a long ball, but it’s high. That’s about as good as it’s got in the second half for the Big Ten side.
75′ – While the ESPN cameras focus on Cindy Parlow Cone, Dunn bursts to the endline before cutting it back to a wide open Ranee Premji who stabs it in. More atrocious marking, more magic from Dunn. It’s officially a beatdown.
77′ – It’s UNC’s turn for some questionable set piece defending, but the header after a corner is bounced around is right into Adelaide Gay’s arms. That kind of day for PSU.
79′ – Yeesh. Gardner with a suicidal backpass into the path of Hayes, but they get lucky with it.
83′ – Less than convincing off a corner for UNC, as Gay comes for it but doesn’t get there. Chapic heads it back in to Nairn who crosses from the endline, but Schram volleys wide. Another missed opportunity.
86′ – Hey, I think ESPN’s acknowledged the new women’s professional league more times in this broadcast than they did WPS in three years of its existence.
FULL-TIME – A game that was poised nicely at the break turned into a rout in the second half. Carolina’s second goal seemed to drain the confidence from Penn State, and it was seldom a contest after that. Tar Heels triumphant after one of the most impressive displays in a final for quite some time.