NCAA women's tournament
Late Morrell, Walker goals allow UNC escape Rutgers 2-1, keep title defense alive.
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (Saturday, November 24, 2001) -- Freshman striker Anne Morrell and sophomore midfielder Jordan Walker scored in the second half to allow No. 1, two-time defending champions North Carolina to overcome Rutgers 2-1 in an NCAA tournament third-round match this afternoon before 1,445 at Fetzer Field.
Rutgers (14-8-1) provided UNC (22-0) with probably its toughest challenge of the season, but it is the Tar Heels who will host eighth-ranked Penn State in the quarterfinal Friday night here at 7 p.m. (ET).
The Tar Heels, who have won 31 in a row, rallied with two goals in the final 27 minutes, with Walker netting the decisive one with 8:27 remaining. Walker’s last four tallies were game-winners, including the first in a 2-0 decision over Duke in the second round last Sunday.
UNC’s trailed for over 52 minutes, its longest deficit since September 24, 1999 when the Heels were behind Santa Clara for the final 72:22 of a 1-0 loss.
"All I asked of (my team) was to not change anything and to just go out and play," second-year Rutgers coach Glenn Crooks said. "We went out and played with North Carolina. We played hard and left it all out on the field, and I can’t ask for anything more than that."
Carolina broke through to tie 1-1 on its eighth shot with 63:55 elapsed. Sophomore midfielder Maggie Tomecka sent a pass to the left wing to senior mid Jena Kluegel whose pass split several defenders at the top of the Rutgers penalty area. Morrell gathered in the ball, pivoted and found herself open. She took a couple of touches and then placed the ball to the left of Rutgers goalkeeper Christine Caldwell for her eighth goal.
"We knew we had to stick one in the net, that's the bottom line," Kluegel said. "We needed to score to get back in the game and two to win and we had 45 minutes to do that and that's what we did. I don't think it would have been helpful to panic. We just encouraged each other."
UNC continued to pepper the Rutgers net with another five shots over the next several minutes and the Scarlet Knights counterattacked with their best opportunity of the second half when Adrienne Dugandzic’s strike was snuffed by UNC second-half keeper Jenni Branam’s diving save.
The Tar Heels took finally took the lead on their 14th shot with Walker set up by Kluegel and sophomore forward Alyssa Ramsey. Kluegel led Ramsey with a pass down the left wing and Ramsey dribbled into the corner, held off her defender with her strength and centered the ball to Walker who made a run from midfield and finished into the upper left corner to make it 2-1 at 81:33.
Walker, who has three goals on the season, defeated Notre Dame in the NCAA semifinals last season and Virginia in the regular this season year before the two winners this week.
"Most of the work was done by Alyssa Ramsey," Walker said. "She made a great run to get in, fought her defender off. She had patience and strength and knew where everyone was. She laid it to me and it was a fairly easy finish. No one was on me I am just glad I got it on the frame and it went in.
"A lot of it is luck. When it comes to big games I think one of my strengths is mental toughness. I know that I need to focus in those types of situations. I just try to focus a little harder than I normally would. I have been in the right place at the right time and I get a great ball most of the time."
Rutgers struck for a 1-0 advantage with a goal in the 12th minute when UNC defender Catherine Reddick’s clearing pass was intercepted and fed to forward Keri Lages on the left wing. Lages carried in alone on keeper Kristin DePlatchett who made a leg save, but was helpless to prevent freshman striker Meghan Cameron from pouncing on the rebound and depositing it into the empty net.
Today’s match marked the fourth time in its last seven NCAA tournament outings that North Carolina rallied from a 1-0 deficit in the second half of a game to win 2-1. The Tar Heels turned the trick last year against Virginia in the third round, Notre Dame in the semifinals and UCLA in the title game.
"Obviously we are ecstatic to be alive in the NCAA tournament," UNC coach Anson Dorrance said. "
 Virginia 4, Cincinnati 0
CHARLOTTEVILLE, Va. -- Freshman striker Lindsay Gusick scored three times and assisted a fourth for No. 15 Virginia which easily disposed of Cincinnati 4-0 in the third-round match at Klöckner Stadium.
The Cavaliers (17-3-2) advanced to a quarterfinal meeting against second-ranked Santa Clara. The Bearcats closed 20-4.
"We are very excited right now," U.Va. coach Steve Swanson said. "This is what we are aiming for, a chance to advance to the NCAA Final Four. We are very anxious for the next game."
With her second hat trick of the season, Gusick now has 17 goals and 37 points for the season. She is tied for second in the school record book for goals with the 1996 effort of Angela Hucles who broke her own record in 1997 by netting 19. Hucles’ 41 points 1997 is the only total high than Gusick.
Midfielder Lori Lindsey scored the other goal, giving her a career best of 10 and 32 for her four years.
Gusick put the Cavaliers up 1-0, set up for a 10-yard strike from the left by Ashley Meeker with 6:06 gone.
At 26:37, Gusick made it 2-0 with an easy tally from the right side after Katie Bunch carried through several defenders before finding her target in the box.
"I'm willing to do whatever it takes for this team to win right now," Gusick said. "If my role is to score goals, then I will live up to that role."
Gusick set up Lindsey right in front of the net and the senior drove a sharp shot into the left corner to increase the margin to 3-0 at 59:44.
"This is what we've been looking forward to all year," Lindsey said. "We have worked hard and we deserve this."
Gusick finished the scoring with an unassisted goal at 82:17.
"I think our seniors have done a lot of sacrificing and certainly a lot of leadership," Swanson said. "That has been the real key to our success. There is no team in the country that I would rather be coaching right now."