NCAA Tournament – North Carolina vs Penn State – Stream of Consciousness Diary

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.

3 thoughts on “NCAA Tournament – North Carolina vs Penn State – Stream of Consciousness Diary

  1. WoSo Hopeful

    As a spectator of the sport and the brother of a young girl who trains at least 2 hours a day by herself to reach the level she wants to be at, I was so excited by this game. Not only does it show how far college soccer has grown, espicailly for women, but it shows how much the sport in general has grown. I expect to see many, many of the ladies that played today in the new professional league sooner than later, and a few on the national team within weeks of Sermanni getting a good look at them.

    Ohai, Dunne, Green, Hayes will all get Nat looks rather early in the new coaches reign, and will be Number One Draft pick material as they graduate college.

    the USWNT has found its current star in Alex Morgan, but in Ohai and Dunn, your looking at the future. It was a game I would be proud to sit and watch, and a game that gave my little sister even more of a drive to reach the highest level possible.

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  2. soccerinsandiego

    Overall I have to say I was extremely happy that the 3 games were honestly high level quality games despite the rain. Fans got to see 9 goals in 3 games, 2 golden goals, and 1 second half beat down. The PennState FloridaState game was by far the best since both teams were evenly matched and loved seeing the FSU outside backs really put on a show of dribbling and attacking

    Here’s one thing I want to pose to the fans of AWK and fans that watch UNC run circles around Stanford and Penn State.

    Can we get the NCAA to change the substitution rule to line up more with international/professional play? Anson out coached all the teams. He proved his brilliance since he’s able to take out Ohai, Brooks, Dunn, Green for 20 minutes at a time while they have the lesser known/walk-ons/NC local girls just run nonstop against their opponents.

    WINNERS/LOSERS

    WINNERS:

    Ohai – UNC – This girl had a dream 2012, U20 WWC Final Game Winning Goal and College Cup MVP. Her speed definitely makes her a contender for a Full National Team call-up, but her technical ability must improve a lot, I think she would be a great right midfield sub on the US National Team.

    Dunn – UNC – This girl looks tiny on TV, even smaller when you see how big that jersey is on her, but she plays bigger than anyone else on the field. Can we already get her on the national team to say goodbye to LePeilbet since we need a replacement for Krieger?

    Any UNC Player not named Brooks, Dunn, Ohai – Besides the 3 Big Name Players/Recruits, most of the UNC players in the two games didn’t shine as brightly as the Big 3, yet they did their job perfectly, Anson told them high pressure and they continued to run and run for all 104/90 minutes. They will still be unknowns next year as individuals, but they will continue the UNC tradition that makes all colleges (even the elite talented player of Stanford) fear them so much! Stanford looked scared to go at the UNC 3 back all game long! I don’t like the style of UNC Soccer since it’s not the most beautiful style out there, but it’s effective. Anson gets paid to win.

    LOSERS:

    Mariah Nogueria – Stanford: This former Slammers player is commonly known as the best header in the NCAA (debatable, but girl’s got some crazy number of header goals). During the semi, she lost too many battles against Amber Brooks. Her lack of fitness (how?) was a big factor UNC dominated in midfield. I thought she was a future/second coming of Shannon Boxx, now I’m definitely not as convinced. She was a senior as well!

    Chi – Stanford: This girl’s going to be playing for Nigeria or England National team after showing her biggest weakness outshines her best qualities. No doubt, out of all the games, she was easily the most technically gifted player with her dribbling skills, but that’s where it ended. Girls got to shoot to score!!!!!! Her biggest weakness is not realizing you don’t have all the time in the world to shoot. I’ve been a huge fan of hers since she stepped on the Farm. Now I can only see she has reached her potential. No upside.

    SO CAL SOCCER – With all these young girls coming from LA/OC to see the College Cup, now they will only want to player for UNC. The 2012 College Cup was a UNC Dream Recruiting Tool for So Cal Players. From what I saw, this was the first time a So Cal University hosted the Women’s College Cup. Out of any college in California, USD is clearly the best school/stadium to host the College Cup. The stadium has a great atmosphere to it and had amazing crowds during the SD Spirit days. Huge soccer community with SD Surf and the OC PowerHouse clubs (Blues/Slammers) that are a short drive away. San Diego did no favors for themselves to potentially host the College Cup again for the following reasons:

    #1 They should have mandated NO SOCCER or FOOTBALL GAMES 1 MONTH prior to the college cup. The football team played on that field 3 weeks ago!!!

    #2 How in the world did you NOT get rid of the 40 Yard Line paint on the field!!!!!!! You couldn’t see it from the General Admissions stands, but you could see it on TV!!!!!

    #3 CARY, NC was already announced as the host of 2013 College Cup!!!!!

    #4 With all the money the university pays for the grass all over their campus, it doesn’t look like they laid new grass for the fall season.

    Coming from a huge Stanford/Radcliffe fan (I wanted Stanford to win it all!!!)

    Predictions for 2013
    No way in the world will Stanford get back to the College Cup, despite big recruits
    ACC teams will again represent in the College Cup
    Those are the only predictions, I would be money on!

    Reply
  3. soccerinsandiego

    One Last Loser

    ZONAL MARKING ON CORNERS: This was the death of PennState in the title match on the 2nd/3rd goals. Both defenders were able to run into the goal without a body on them. Even other fans sitting next to me noticed that.

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