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College soccer

Women's College Cup

Another comeback and North Carolina owns one more crown with a 2-1 decision over UCLA.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (Sunday. December 3, 2000) -- No. 4 North Carolina rallied from a late one-goal deficit, using Meredith Florance’s tying tally and an own goal seven minutes later to overcome seventh-ranked UCLA 2-1 to defend its NCAA title and earn its 17th national championship in 20 years.

"Every year it becomes more special," UNC coach Anson Dorrance said. "The fact that in both (College Cup) games we were down and came back, it was more thrilling to come from behind to win than to be ahead the whole game.

UCLA junior defender Krista Boling, who otherwise put in a strong performance, as she had all season, deserved a better fate. However, UNC freshman Catherine Reddick, beat a Bruins defender to a ball at the top right of the penalty area, cut it to her left with her right foot, then drilled a hard shot to the far post. Boling, backpedaling to mark Tar Heels midfielder Leslie Gaston, had the ball bounce off the inside of her right leg into the corner of the goal to make it 2-1 at 82:18.

Goalkeeper CiCi Peterson dove to her right to stop the shot, but the ball had crossed the goal line. "I’ll describe it," said Bruins second-year coach Jillian Ellis. "Ball came in there. Ball hits her calf, goes in the back of the net. Goalkeeper scrambles to try and save it. (Boling) is my most consistent defender, my best defender. She has carried us the entire year. She’s our captain, our leader. That’s just the luck of the draw. I think she played stellar soccer. I thought our back line was fantastic. Krista’s tough. She has a bright future in this game." It was the third time in four matches, UNC (21-3), including Friday’s semifinal triumph over Notre Dame, came back from a one-goal deficit to prevail 2-1.

"I really thing that this team was on a mission," Dorrance said. "There is no way in those environments that you really thing you are going to win. I genuinely feel that was a theme that the entire team had. Even Friday, they told me they were going to come back and beat Notre Dame. I thought they were nuts because I wondered how it was possible to think that way. This group is unique in that way. They never give up and our always confident that they can and will come back to beat any team."

With Dorrance exhorting his team to, "Relax," despite trailing 1-0 with 15 minutes remaining, freshman striker Alysaa Ramsey made the defining play that jump-started the Carolina comeback. On her right sideline, Ramsey slid to beat one Bruin to a touch from junior forward Danielle Borgman. Ramsey then regained her feet and carried past another defender before pushing the ball forward to Borgman, who had found space at the right perimeter of the box.

Borgman crossed to the top right of the six-yard box where Ramsey, her back to the goal, fought off Boling and touched a pass back to Florance, who came streaking forward to roof a shot inside the near post for her 26th goal of her senior season and a 1-1 tie at 75:11.

"It started off with Ann Remy in the middle midfield," Florance said. "She was battling with her defender and broke through and ended up on the ground at one point. She kept fight through, got back up and played a ball up to Danielle. Danielle again beat here defender with her speed, got around and played a great ball across. Alyssa Ramsey was right there, posted up at the near post and she just flicked a great ball to me. I was just there to put it in. It was more (of things) leading up to the actual shot that caused the goal. It wasn’t just the finish."

The Tar Heels controlled play in the first half and only strong play by Peterson and an exceptional save by freshman defender Kathryn Lee kept the game scoreless going into intermission.

In the 29th minute, Florance broke free into the left side of the UCLA box. Peterson advanced and dove right to stop the point-blank shot, the ball squirting into the mouth of the unprotected goal. Lee slid to tackle Ramsey’s attempted shot from your yards, then got to her feel and slid again to clear the loose ball to safety.

The Tar Heels produced the first scoring chance of the second half when Remy knocked a shot from five yards just over the crossbar. It was UCLA (19-4-1), however, that took the 1-0 lead at 53:37 after a bad miscommunication between UNC sophomore keeper Jenni Branam and Reddick.

Senior striker Stephanie Rigamat sent a cross from the right side into the box, but as Branam came out to snag it, the she collided with Reddick. The ball caromed behind both Tar Heels and freshman Lindsay Greco was in the right spot to easily net her eight goal four yards into the empty net.

"Lindsay has been clutch for us all year," Ellis said. She scored big goals for us and she’s a natural. She’s not giving herself enough credit because you have to be in the right place at the right time and she has a habit of doing that and finding the goal.

Said Greco, "I knew Stephanie was going to get it in (the box), so I made my run, the ball was there, the goal was open, so I put it in."

UNC outshot the Bruins 14-3 and held a 12-2 advantage in corner kicks. Peterson made five saves for the Bruins, Branam none for the Tar Heels.

Of the last 18 Final Four games, 14 were decided by one goal with the other four having a difference of two goals.

North Carolina 2, UCLA 1

Lineups: UCLA - CiCi Peterson, Krista Boling, Bethany Bogart, Karissa Hampton, Kathryn Lee, Breana Boling, Venus James, Whitney Jones, Stephanie Rigamat, Tracey Milburn, Lindsay Greco. Substitutes: Sarah-Gayle Swanson, Tracey Winzen, Staci Duncan. North Carolina - Jenni Branam, Julia Marlender, Kalli Kamholz, Catherine Redick, Jena Kluegel, Jordan Walker, Raven McDonald, Maggie Tomecka, Anne Remy, Meredith Florance, Danielle Borgam. Substitutes: Kim Patrick, Tina Murphy, Carmen Watley, Leslie Gaston, Alysaa Ramsey.

UCLA - Greco (unassisted), 53.37.
North Carolina - Florance (Ramsey, Borgman) 75:11
North Carolina - own goal (K. Boling).

Shots: UCLA 3, North Carolina 14. Saves: UCLA - Peterson 5; North Carolina - Branam 0. Corner kicks: UCLA 2, North Carolina 12. Fouls: UCLA 13, North Carolina 9. Offside: UCLA 4, North Carolina 0

Referee: Misail Tsapos. Assistant referees: Karen Swanner, Nancy Fortin. Attendance: 9,566 at Spartan Stadium in San Jose, Calif. Weather: 55 degrees, sunny.

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