#4 North Carolina Women's Soccer 2014 Preview

North Carolina Tar Heels

Overall Rank: #4
#3 ACC
#4 North Carolina Women's Soccer 2014 Preview
North Carolina Team Page


North Carolina needs to do a bit of rebuilding after six starters departed. But Coach Anson Dorrance traditionally reloads the Tar Heels and there is plenty of talent that has been waiting in the wings. As a #1 seed in the 2013 tournament, UNC absolutely dominated in the early rounds, beating Liberty 4-0, Indiana 4-0 and Texas A&M 2-0. But in the quarterfinals this team ran into a UCLA squad that would go on to win the College Cup and lost 1-0.

2013 Record: 20-5-0, 10-3-0
2013 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Anson Dorrance

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Summer Green, Junior, F, 9
Assists: Summer Green, Junior, F, 6
Shots: Summer Green, Junior, F, 66
Saves: Bryane Heaberlin, Junior, GK, 19

Other Key Returnees: F Paige Nielsen, F Amber Munerlyn, F Alexa Newfield, M Cameron Castleberry, M Katie Bowen, M Brooke Elby, M Darcy McFarlane, D Satara Murray, D Hanna Gardner

Key Losses: F Kealia Ohai, M Crystal Dunn, M Meg Morris, D Megan Brigman, GK Anna Sieloff

Junior forward Summer Green should emerge as the team’s top goal scorer. In 2013 she netted nine goals and added six assists. Green spent her summer playing with the U-20 World Cup squad and has the talent and skill set to be one of the best scorers in the ACC. Fellow forward Paige Nielsen added six goals of her own. Amber Munerlyn and Alexa Newfield provide even more options up top. The midfield returns Cameron Castleberry, Katie Bowen, Brooke Elby and Darcy McFarlane, but also adds a couple great recruits in Megan Buckingham and Annie Kingman. No matter who ends up cracking the starting lineup, Coach Dorrance has plenty of options and all of them are very good. The most experienced options in the back are Satara Murray and Hanna Gardner.

But with all of the talent returning, the losses are significant. Crystal Dunn led the team with 34 points, scoring 14 goals and adding six assists. Dunn wrapped up her collegiate career by being the first overall pick in the 2014 NWSL Draft. As if losing the first overall pick in the draft was not enough, the Tar Heels also lost the second overall pick in Kealia Ohai. She scored 11 goals and added six more assists. Midfielder Meg Morris, defender Megan Brigman and keeper Anna Sieloff are the other significant departures. The Tar Heels should be safe in goal with Bryane Heaberlin ready to step into a full-time starting position. In 2013 she saw action in 20 games and allowed just six goals.

Final Projection:
The potential is there for this to be a North Carolina team that can compete for a national title. However, the potential is also there for this group to take a step back, at least for a while, without Dunn and Ohai leading the way. With Stanford, UCLA, Pepperdine and Penn State on the schedule during the first three weeks of the 2014 season, North Carolina will not have much time to fit in all of their new pieces. After that the schedule gets even tougher with three straight road games to start off ACC play.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Tournament

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 2.00 (42nd in nation, 6th in conference)
Goals-Against Average: 0.515 (9, 1)
Shutout Percentage: 0.600 (15, 2)
Save Percentage:  0.797 (118, 4)

Madness 2015 NWSL Draft Rankings:
#29 Santara Murray
#37 Alexa Newfield

Madness 2014 Women’s Soccer Recruit Rankings:
#2 Megan Buckingham
#19 Annie Kingman


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