What’s up, gang. A couple things before we move on. First, braggadocio: if you look quick, you can catch my name on the front page ESPN.com, just below Bill Simmons. While that will undoubtedly be a fleeting glory, you can read the article on Ric Flair that got me there here. And if you really want, you can hear me talk about it from a scratchy phone here or here (37:00).
Second, some quick things about the UAE game yesterday.
A – There were stretches of beautiful basketball by the Dukies. It makes a difference when you don’t have government refs ruining the flow, doesn’t it? Austin Rivers looked better (though I’m still really anxious about how he’ll develop in the context of the system this year.)
B – You can check out the cumulative stats for all four games in this .pdf. I “borrowed” this from a poster called “ACCBBallFan” on DBR, so if you’re reading, good sir, and you want some credit or just to yell at me, be in touch.
C – The way the guy on the PA system tried to get chants going was hysterical. He sounded like one of the muezzins who calls people to prayer; low, droning, and totally unenthused. The whole place had the look of a high school gym, albeit with a weird amount of beautiful women. I also couldn’t help but laugh when they showed the rich sheikhs in the front row. Do you think they were pissed that UAE was losing, or just didn’t want to be spending their day watching basketball?
D – Other player run down: Miles great, Mason so-so, Dawk great, Curry very good, Gbinije eh, Kelly still very good, Murphy promising, Marshall Schmarshall.
E – Not to repeat myself, but that was really fun. It made me sad toward the end that we won’t get to see these guys until November. On the other hand, this summer trip was fantastic; it should be mandatory every year.
Sorry I don’t have more for you, but please chime in comment-style if you have something to add. And God knows you probably do; I’m pretty sure that little recap didn’t “cover” it.
Okay. It’s time for a new feature I like to call…
THE GAME OF THE WEEKEND
It’s a no-brainer this time around:
Women’s soccer: UNC vs. Notre Dame, TONIGHT, 7pm eastern, Fetzer Field (Chapel Hill)
Notre Dame are the defending national champions, and they beat UNC in the NCAA tournament last year. And boy, was it a trouncing. The Lady Heels (do they call them that?) are probably the most successful NCAA sports team in history, having won 20 of the 29 national titles ever contested in the sport. It’s not normal to see them get woman-handled, if you will, by another squad. The rest of the soccer world has caught up to UNC, though, and unless the Heels get some revenge tonight, that world will smell blood. Light, blue blood.
I will be going to this game, so come say hi if you’re there and somehow know what I look like.
On that note, I turn the rest of this post over to Stephanie Silverman, who will be writing for the site on the topic of UNC soccer. Today’s contribution is a preview of the season and the team. Take it away, Double Esses.
UNC Women’s Preview
Before I begin a little preview about the UNC vs. Notre Dame soccer game tonight, I want to cover some background. While I am not personally an expert on the game, or even a former player, I have take a sip of the kool-aid.
I’m not just drinking it, actually, but selling it wherever I go. I’m a University of Georgia alum, and down in Athens we are not strangers to a women’s dynasty. Our gymnastics team is incredible- it was the only women’s sport where you had to pay to attend. And it was sold out. Every match. In that sense, I am familiar with the phenomenon. However, as my obsession with UNC’s women’s soccer team grows, so will my questions about the support of the team.
I am sure that as I write for this blog, the editor will have to “un-pr” me (Editor’s note: Stephanie is interning with the soccer team’s PR branch this semester) numerous times. Hey, I’m new to this. But I must say, it’s shocking to me that UNC isn’t #1 in attendance for women’s soccer. In fact, we’re #3. So maybe after you read this post, you might realize this is a game worth going to. Word on the street is that tickets are still available.
When you talk about UNC’s women’s soccer team, its hard not to talk about the numbers.
51– Players on the U.S. National Team
25– College-Cup Appearances
21– ACC Championships
20– NCAA National Championships
17– Players named National Player of the Year
But lately, there are some other numbers that might be resonating with the team, like 4. The number of goals Notre Dame scored last year when they knocked UNC out of the College Cup. Or, maybe it’s the number 3. That’s the amount of times that Notre Dame has knocked UNC out of the NCAA tournament since 1981. But the most profound number of all might be 607- the number of games UNC went without losing by more than a goal. Notre Dame ended that little streak in emphatic fashion.
There is also the number 1, which is Notre Dame’s current rank in the NCSAA poll. I even heard a rumor recently that Notre Dame has a winning record at Fetzer Field.
I get it; this is not UNC’s only tough game this season. In their 16 regular season games, nine of the teams are ranked in the top 25. But this is the game that could be a preview for another game to be held in Georgia this winter. This is the game where UNC is actually the underdog. And that doesn’t happen very often.