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UNC women’s soccer savors improbable championship

UNC is used to winning national championships in women's soccer, but not to the kind of journey the Tar Heels traveled for their 22nd national title. SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE

CHAPEL HILL — After a 4-1 victory against Penn State on Sunday in San Diego, the North Carolina women’s soccer team has now won 22 national championships. This championship run, though, was unlike any other in school history.

UNC seeks 21st national championship in women’s soccer

Playing for national championships is nothing new for the North Carolina women’s soccer team. The Tar Heels, though, have perhaps never embarked on a more dramatic journey to the championship game.

UNC on Sunday at 4 p.m. in San Diego will make its 24th appearance in the championship game of the NCAA women’s soccer tournament, which is in its 31st year of existence. The Heels will play against Penn State.

Clash of the Carolinas this Saturday

The fifth annual Clash of the Carolinas all-star soccer games will be played this Saturday on Daniels Island, near Charleston, S.C., and once again the matches will have some Chapel Hill flavor.

UNC's Farrell Sweeney, an all-state midfielder when she was at East Chapel Hill, will play on the N.C. girls team. UNC Asheville goalie Dan Jackson (East Chapel Hill '11) and UNC Wilmington midfielder Jamie Dell (Chapel Hill '11) will be on the N.C. boys team.

The Clash of the Carolinas, organized by the North Carolina Soccer Coaches Association and the South Carolina High School Soccer Coaches Association, is the nation's only interstate all-star soccer match, pairing teams from each of the Carolinas.

Saturday's doubleheader will begin at 1 p.m. with the girls’ contest, where the North Carolina team holds a 3-1-0 series lead. The boys’ contest starts at 3:30 p.m. North Carolina is seeking its first win in the boys' series, where South Carolina holds a 1-0-3 advantage.

Averbuch wins ACC honor

UNC senior Yael Averbuch won the ACC's women’s soccer scholar-athlete of the year for the second straight year.

Averbuch, of Upper Montclair, N.J., is an All-America midfielder and she helped the Tar Heels (25-1-1) to their 19th NCAA Championship last fall. Averbuch was also given similar awards by the National Soccer Coaches of America and ESPN the Magazine.

The ACC established the award in 2007 and juniors and seniors are eligible.

Heels earn title on Nogueira's goals

With 2:06 left in the match, Casey Nogueira scores the game-winning goal, slanting from center to the left wing and firing across right into the right corner of the goal, hitting the cross-bar on the way in.

It's Nogueira's second goal of the game, fourth of the tournament and 25th of the year.

UNC wins its second national championship in three years, handing the Irish their first and only loss of the season.

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