Basketball! The Game of the Weekend! UNC women’s soccer preview!

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.

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17 Responses to Basketball! The Game of the Weekend! UNC women’s soccer preview!

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  1. I thought it ironically hilarious — or hilariously ironic — that Drew Magary retweeted your Grantland piece on Ric Flair, since I was the one who him your Letter to Kyrie and he replied back that it “wasn’t real.” Hahaha. WHO’S REAL NOW?

    1. “who TWEETED him” Whither art thou, Edit Button?

      1. You can’t edit, Lisa? I think you’re supposed to be able to, but I could be wrong.

        1. William says:

          Nah, can’t edit comments. I’m looking into adding that feature though. We’ll see what we can do.

  2. John K says:

    That’s awesome about ESPN homepage…major bragging rights. I hope you’ve done a screen capture and filed that one away as a good first!

    1. Thanks John!

  3. thanks, stephanie, i look forward to your coverage. i was a student manager for the women’s team from 2004-2007, so i can’t wait to tap back into the inside scoop

    1. Billy, you should think about writing something about your experiences. I’m sure you’ve got some great stories.

  4. TarHeelAlex says:

    Yeah, so how awesome was that game? Packed house. Early lead. Comeback. Rain. Driving Rain. Overtime. Power goal to win it. OH YEAH! HEELS WOMEN’S SOCCER!

    1. I will not get fan points for this, but after sticking out the rain and really enjoying the game, my friend and I left after 90 minutes. The main reason was we had to get to a going-away party for a pal, but it was also because we expected the game to end after 90. Why was there OT? Totally awesome that UNC won it in OT, but we weren’t mentally prepared for it. Will be better in the future.

      Tell me about the goal when you get a chance.

      1. TarHeelAlex says:

        We came out sluggish in the second half. In my opinion, we were gassed and were very ineffective in locating attacking teammates. As always our passes went to the outside forwards but many times they were tightly covered or the pass wasn’t crisp. To be honest, offensively I thought we should have pressed into the middle a bit more. Send someone speedy like Kealia on a post pattern and popped it into her. Notre Dame scored on a somewhat flukey play. Their girl blasted the ball from far out, and the other player set a screen on Hannah (our goalie) which allowed the ball to get in (I didn’t really sit it perfect though my view was obstructed by umbrellas and every time I stood, the women’s soccer team from Campbell who was sitting near me starting complaining. Really Campbell? I’m not going to sit for y’all.) Aside from that Hannah was amazing. She had several tremendous saves that prevented the Irish from winning. In OT we came out fired. Attacked the entire time. Like five minutes in, Amber got the ball at midfield and sent to to Kealia. It looked like Kealia was going to try to burn her defender but then she stopped and zipped a pass to Courtney Jones who was wide open at the top of the box, with time. And when you give Courtney Jones time, that ball is going in: which is what happened. And with it a Carolina victory.

        Also Courtney got a yellow for totally dropping an ND girl. They kinda went up for the ball at the same time, but Courtney was off balance and the result was a shoulder hit that looked like it was delivered from a strong safety.

        Apparently, the official attendance was just north of 5,000-the fourth largest crowd in history. Although I’d say it was under half that by game’s end.

        1. Awesome, thanks. I saw everything but OT. Good for Courtney Jones for scoring the goal, but I have to say, I thought she looked off form for the entire match. It didn’t seem like she had any kind of speed, and there were a lot of bad touches. I remember one decent run in the second half on the right side, but beyond that I thought she was totally unimpressive.

          Kealia, on the other hand, is incredible. So much speed and quickness. By about 20 minutes in, the ND defenders were giving her about 15 yards of space, they were so scared. I’m not surprised one bit that she created the OT goal.

          Does this go in the books as a win or a draw? Also, why was there overtime? (And if you can fill me in on the substituting rules for college soccer, that’d be great too…can you just put anyone in at any time?)

          Last thing: on ND’s goal, the goalie needed to punch rather than try to catch. You can’t try to catch high with a wet ball. And that goal shouldn’t have happened…the ref missed an obvious foul on the other end, terrible no-call.

          Good for UNC. Great win/draw.

  5. Aaron Taube says:

    It won’t allow me to reply directly to Shane, but the reason there was overtime was because that’s the rules, dog! This is America, where ties are like kissing your sister, which is socially unacceptable except for in some places where it’s okay if she’s a 7 or better.

    Basically, there are two 10-minute, sudden-death halves. Whichever team scores first wins, and the result counts in the standings the same is if the result had been rendered in regulations as it would in basketball or football. If neither team scores in the 20 minutes, then it’s a draw. It makes for some pretty exciting regular-season finishes, including UNC’s awesome upset in the 2007 msoccer Tobbaco Road Derby at Fetzer Field.

  6. sanfransoxfan says:

    William, since features are being discussed, consider upping the reply limit – there are some great back and forths going on (and you’ve been in on some, so you’ve noticed, I’m sure).

    Also, it’s cool to know who likes/dislikes a comment (maybe just the users’ avatar?).

    Finally – sounds like and incredible match that would have been well worth sticking it out for. Great win for the ACC, UNC! Congrats.

    1. Raul Clement says:

      Got to disagree with you a little on your player assessments. While Miles didn’t play badly, he only had one point and seven rebounds. Mason meanwhile, had 17 points and 15 rebounds. Granted it was a team of midgets, but I think he deserves more than a so-so. It seems like those assessments should be reversed.

      1. Raul Clement says:

        Sorry. That was supposed to be a reply to the post, not to Sanfransoxfan, obviously.

    2. William says:

      Yeah, I’ve considered those things. The issues with the depth that you can reply is that I’d need to tweak the design some. I have it set at 4 levels right now. If it goes any more, you have a very narrow space to comment in. If I can adjust the design some to better accomodate deeper threading, then I’ll do it.

      In regards to who likes/dislikes, currently anyone can do it whether they are logged in or not, so it obviously couldn’t show avatars for everyone. Currently it’s not storing who specifically likes/dislikes a comment, just the count. But it’s definitely something I’ll look into. It would certainly be a nice-to-have feature.

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