Women's College Cup
Walker is the latest Tar Heels here' her winner beats Notre Dame and put UNC into final against UCLA.
SAN JOSE, Calif. (Friday, December 1, 2000) -- In building a dynasty like none other in NCAA history, North Carolinaís has produced a never-ending parade of star players onto the womenís soccer scene.
Fridayís Womenís College Cup semifinal produced still another.
Freshman midfielder Jordan Walker fourth goal in Tar Heel blue -- and first game-winner -- completed a UNC second-half comeback in a 2-1 triumph over No. 1 and previously undefeated Notre Dame before 8,596 at Spartan Stadium.
The Tar Heels (20-3) advanced to Sundayís 3:30 p.m. (ET) title match -- televised live on ESPN2 -- against seventh-ranked UCLA where they will attempt to win a 16th championship in the 19-year history of this event. UCLA, playing its first national semifinal, defeated No. 10 Portland 1-0 in the eveningís second match.
"I donít think Iíve ever kicked a ball harder in my life," Walker said.
Kim Patrick also scored for North Carolina which reached the championship game for the 18th time.
"What I was concerned about was how miserably we played in the first half," UNC coach Anson Dorrance said. "The thing I told my team at the half is that was the worst half of soccer we played all year and if weíre only down a goal, this is a miracle. Letís see if we can play a different second half and junp back in it."
After a Notre Dame defender cleared a ball from in front of her net, Walker picked up the loose ball at the top of the penalty area and deposited in the corner of the net for a 2-1 lead with 6:41 remaining.
"The interesting thing about it was that before the goal, (Dorrance) told me to pull back because Notre Dame had two players back," Walker said. "I pulled back to even out the numbers, but on the goal, I saw it roll out and I put my head down and hit it as hard as I possibly could.
"I knew that most of the players were on the near post side, so actually, earlier in the season that was how we had a few goals scored on us this way, where the keeper was screened and there were a lot of people on the near side and the ball was shot to our far post and went in. I learned from watching these previous goals so that is what I did and it went in."
UNC tied the score at 1-1 at 65:11 after midfielder Jena Kluegel sent a corner kick to the front of the net where Patrick soared over the defense to headed the ball beyond the outstretched hands of Notre Dame goalkeeper Liz Wagner.
"It is kind of interesting, because the run I made on goal is not my typical run," Patrick said of her ninth goal. "When I make that run, it is usually because all the tall people are out. It is funny that I did score off that run. It was in slow motion because I got in front of Notre Dameís Monica Gonzalez and she was winning balls in the back all over the place. I saw the ball and it was great timing on my run."
Notre Dame took the lead 1-0 at 19:48 on their only shot of the first half. Forward Meotis Erickson sent a through ball to freshman striker Amy Warner in the middle of the field near the top of the box. Warner collected the ball, went in one-on-one with Jenni Branam, and after drawing the keeper out, knocked her shot into the corner of the net.
"I think in the first half, we actually had Carolina on their heels a little bit. I think we were going at them," Erikson said. "I think we were very confident we could play with Carolina and I think in the first half we went at them and in the second half, we began to sit back. In the games this year, whenever weíve had problems, itís when we started to sit back and kind of try to hold on to a lead rather than keep attacking."
UNC defender Catherine Reddick saved a goal in the 63rd minute when she raced to cleared shot off the goal line by Notre Dame's Ali Lovelace who had evaded Branam. Two minutes later, the Tar Heels tied the score at 1.
"That was a huge play by Reddick on Carolina," Irish coach Randy Waldrum said. "I think at the time we were up one and if we get a goal, I think we would be a very difficult team to beat if we were up by two. . . That could have turned the game right there."
The Irish, who last lost in the 1999 championship game to UNC, saw its school-record 24-game unbeaten streak end.
UNC outshot the Irish 11-4 and had 14 corner kicks, all after intermission, to three for ND. "No matter what we did, we couldnít get it out of the back" in the second half," said Irish defender Kelly Lindsey. "I donít think weíve ever given up that many corner kicks and that definitely put us on our heels."
 UCLA 1,  Portland 0
Junior striker Stephanie Rigamat's goal in the 77th minute propelled No. 7 UCLA to a 1-0 victory over 10th-ranked Portland in the other semifinal.
The Bruins (19-3-1) are looking to become only the second team ever to win the national title in their initial Final Four appearance. Florida was the first, defeating North Carolina 1-0 in 1998 for the national championship.
Rigamatís team-leading eighth game-winner came at 76:29 off a hard cross from midfielder Venus James. James from the left side of the box. Rigamat was able to re-direct the ball, flicking it past Portland goalkeeper Cheryl Loveless.
"I wasn't doing well with my feet because it was so wet and slick so I figured I might as well get it done with a header," Rigamat said. "We just kept pressuring them. (Sarah-Gayle Swanson) and Venus got a great combination and served it up. I had the easy part."
Swanson, who nearly scored on several attempts in the first half, came inches within putting UCLA ahead in the 38th minute of the match when her volley off a Tracey Milburn cross hit the bottom of the crossbar. Loveless, however, was able to get up and gather the ball before UCLA could take advantage.
Friday's match marked the second meeting ever between UCLA and Portland (18-4). The Bruins defeated the Pilots 1-0 in the first-round of the NCAA tournament in 1997.
"Obviously we're extremely pleased to advance and have the opportunity to compete for the national championship," UCLA head coach Jillian Ellis. "I thought it was a tremendous game tonight. Portland played great soccer and the fans got their moneys worth. One more game - that's kind of our goal. We're excited to get the opportunity to play against North Carolina."
UCLA is 0-2 all-time against North Carolina. Most recently, the Tar Heels defeated the Bruins 2-0 last season.
At No. 6, UCLA has a chance to become the lowest seed ever to win the NCAA championship.