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Florance nets pair for North Carolina which rolls into semifinals by blanking UConn 3-0.

Meredith Florance
Meredith Florance's two goals in a 3-0 NCAA tournament quarterfinal victory over Connecticut gave the North Carolina senior 25 for the season.
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (Friday, November 24, 2000) -- Senior striker Meredith Florance scored twice to power No. 4 North Carolina to a decisive 3-0 triumph over 14th-ranked Connecticut in an NCAA tournament quarterfinal before 2,035 at Fetzer Field this afternoon.

The Tar Heels (19-3) have never failed to reach the NCAA semifinals in the 19-year history of the tournament. Throw in the Association of Intercollegiate Women crown of 1981 and UNC owns 16 of the last 19 national championships.

UNC heads to San Jose, Calif., for next weekendís Womenís College Cup Final Four at Spartan Stadium and a rematch of last year's NCAA championship match with Notre Dame, a contest won 2-0 by the Tar Heels. The Irish eliminated 1999 semifinalist Santa Clara 2-1 on a goal by senior striker Meotis Erikson five minutes into sudden death last night.

"As my last season, I just wanted to go out with a bang," Florance said. "It was a great feeling to score two goals today. All the seniors got together after the game and were all crying because it hit us that it was our last game on Fetzer. It meant a lot."

Florance put the Tar Heels on the board just 13:13 into the match when she finished off a play which capitalized on UNCís organization in the penalty area. Senior defender Kalli Kamholz launched a throw-in from the right side that was flicked on at the six-yard line by junior forward Anne Remy. The ball went across the crease to the foot of Florance who buried her 24th goal into an empty net.

"The first goal was critical. I told that to Kalli Kamholz after the game," UNC coach Anson Dorrance said. "What it does for us is it puts us in the position where if we can get one more, we feel pretty comfortable where we can salt it away. And obviously any soccer coach in the world loves to be up three-zip . . . Going in at the half, and winning by that margin, was critical. I felt the last ten to fifteen minutes of the first half, UConn was starting to take over, dominate if you will. Then second half we changed our effort. All of the sudden I thought we were in a great position, from the beginning of the second half on."

The Tar Heels came out aggressively after intermission and forced the action with both UConn goalkeeper Maria Yatrakis and the Huskiesí defenders combining to keep the Tar Heels off the scoreboard. Then junior forward Danielle Borgman triggered an impressive offensive set which resulted in the Tar Heelsí second goal at 60:26.

Despite being knocked off her feet, Borgman maintained control the ball, beat her defender to the deep right corner and crossed the ball to freshman striker Alyssa Ramsey. Ramsey flicked the ball on to Florance who ran onto it three yards out for an easy put-away.

"I got knocked off the ball, but I got up," Borgman said. "I knew where it was. I knew that if I could get it in the box, our team would be there and somebody would put it in."

Carolina finished off the scoring at 73:03 when freshman midfielder Maggie Tomecka, the Tar Heelsí tallest player at 5-foot-10, ripped a shot from 24 yards out into the upper left corner past Yatrakis.

"Our athleticism -- when we are cranking it, it is hard for teams to keep up with the pace of our players," Dorrance said. "When we play our best, we force our opponents to stay with us and then we force them to work hard to go trough us. I think the first 30 minutes of the first half and the entire second half we really played a relentless defense. I think that was really also the margin. When we saw tapes of UConn, we could see how good they were. They are very good at holding the ball. . . and they are very good under pressure. But I think our defensive effort forced them to play maybe a little faster than they wanted to. I think all our work ethic up front and mobility also put their backs under pressure."

UNC finished with a 17-5 shots advantage over UConn (17-7-2). The Tar Heels earned eight corner kicks to none for the Huskies.

Yatrakis made five saves for the Huskies while Jenni Branam needed three stops for her fourth shutout in the last five games.

"We definitely have the players, the skills, the ability. Unfortunately our outcome wasnít there today," said UConn senior defender Jen Carlson. "They are obviously a great team and they outplayed us today. They came at us. We panicked a little bit and they capitalized on our mistakes. We didnít create many scoring opportunities for us, and the ones that we did have, we didnít take or didnít capitalize on. Luck wasnít on us this time.

"I wish I could my finger on it, but you canít. Itís just one of those things, it had to happen. One of us had to lose and unfortunately we were the team today."

[1] Notre Dame 2, [18] Santa Clara 1 (OT)

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dame only managed one shot after intermission, but it was enough to send the Irish to the NCAA tournament semifinals for the sixth time in seven seasons. Striker Meotis Erikson continued her strong postseason, scoring the decisive goal on that one shot in the fifth minute of sudden death to lead No. 1 Notre Dame (23-0-1) to a 2-1 decision in a match between 1999 national semifinalists before 1,076 at Alumni Field.

Three minutes after Irish goalkeeper Liz Wagner made a great stop of Heather Aldama's free kick, Notre Dameís Amanda Guertin collected a ball in the corner and sent a short cross to Randi Scheller, who centered the ball to Meotis Erikson for a low-centered shot and the game-winner at 94:59.

Wagner "made a lot of key saves today," Broncos coach Jerry Smith said. "You have to give credit where credit's due. I don't think anybody doubted that we'd have chances to score, but just a matter of could we get one by their goalkeeper?"

Santa Clara (16-7-1) forced overtime in dramatic fashion and dominated the scoring chances, with an 18-4 edge in shots and a 9-3 corner-kicks advantage. After outshooting Notre Dame 4-3 in the first half, SCU unleashed the next 14 shots before Eriksonís winner.

"We felt like we were the better team out there today," Smith said. "Tomorrow or yesterday might have been different. But today we felt like we were the better team. But it's not about shots. It's about goals and winning, and finding a way to do it. And we didn't do it."

Junior defender Anna Kraus scored her first goal of the season at 87:12 to forge the 1-1 tie. Sophomore midfielder Aly Wagner took a corner kick for the Broncos on the near side. The ball played out, and after one bounce, Kraus one-timed it into the upper left corner. Irish goalkeeper Liz Wagner got a hand on it, while defender Monica Gonzalez was also right there, but neither could stop the tally.

Erikson, who has three goals and five assists in six postseason games this year, also had the primary assist on the first goal of the game, working the ball to sophomore Ali Lovelace for a 1-0 lead in the game's 17th minute.

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