XI from ’12: [No. 10] North Carolina back on top

Jeff Kassouf December 28, 2012 10

North Carolina won its 21st all-time NCAA championship in women's soccer with a 4-1 win over Penn State on Dec. 2. (Photo Copyright Debby von Winckelmann for EqualizerSoccer.com)

The University of North Carolina entered the 2012 season having not won an NCAA championship or (gasp) even been to a College Cup final since 2009. Such a drought is unthinkable for Tar Heel nation, the most storied women’s soccer program of all-time.

On Dec. 2, however, UNC reclaimed its place atop the collegiate women’s soccer world with a 4-1 win over newcomers Penn State. The title gives North Carolina an astounding 21 NCAA championships in the tournament’s 31-year history.

Kealia Ohai was central to victory and the team’s success throughout the season, scoring in a College Cup final less than three months after her goal in the U-20 World Cup final clinched the United States its place atop the world in that age group.

North Carolina was dominant from the opening whistle. Ohai needed just 71 seconds in the College Cup final to find the back of the net and rattle the inexperience Nittany Lions.

[Our coverage of UNC’s 4-1 victory over Penn State, as it happened]

One could argue that perhaps another UNC title isn’t something we’ll remember 10 years from now (when memory fails for any previous year, don’t we just assume UNC won it all?), but this crop of players is a special one. Expect to see plenty more of Crystal Dunn, Summer Green and Ohai, among others. Oh, and the legendary coach they have named Anson Dorrance isn’t going anywhere, either. The man just keeps on winning. Read it and weep, 3-4-3 formation critics.

Over the final few days of 2012, the staff at The Equalizer will countdown our 11 most memorable moments of 2012. Some were spectacular and some were disappointing, but one thing is common amongst all of them: they will be remembered for years to come.

No. 11: U.S. U-20 women win World Cup

Next up, moment No. 9: Lyon wins second-straight Champions League title

  • luke

    Fantastic team from goalie to forward, epic game at byu, crushing final victory, brilliant players with great future, fantastic, women football-guru coach. Tough season from the start, WHAT A TEAM!

  • Random

    umm I’d qualify that 3-4-3 statement since in the final they switched to a 4-2-3-1 as discussed in your linked story. They also used the 4-2-3-1 quite a lot during the year.

    • Steglitz49

      I have often wondered how the men’s dream team of 1970 was configured. The Nadeshiko dream team of 2011 had a back four — but what a back four! One suspects that they could have managed with a back two that year.

      The ideal might be the Total Football pioneered by the late great Torino side of the immediate post-war era and perfected by Ajax (and Holland) around Johan Cruyff. In some ways, Japan are the closest to playing a total immersion football, but, maybe, it cannot work for ladies the way it does for men? A penny for your thoughts!

  • Kernel Thai

    Again I put this much higher. Even if women’s college soccer is the red haired step child, the NCAA tournament run of North Carolina was such a feel good story. The three walk-ons defense giving up only 5 goals in the NCAA tournament. Crystal Dunn being moved to center mid for the first time and carrying the team to the college cup. Brook Elby miraculous save of a golden goal against BYU. Dunn and Ohai’s major impact in both the U20 world cup win and the college cup three months later. This is Hoosiers!

    • Steglitz49

      I respectfully dissent, KT. Having not only seconded you but raised you on the U-20 entry, I cannot in good faith support you on this one, Ms Ohai or no Ms Ohai. It has to rank below U-20 by definition.

      On tiptoe I look forward to what Jeff will serve up for us next. Remember, Jack Charlton allegedly established that as long as your grandmother kept an irish Wolfhound you were eligible to play for Ireland. Bring it on Jeff, in spades!

      • Kernel Thai

        Well just because I think it’s higher than #10 doesnt mean I rank it above the U20…it’s much harder to win a world cup than a college cup. Still, this is also a top five story IMO

        • Steglitz49

          So, should the NCAA last a thousand years, then they shall say: “This was the Tar Heals’ finest hour!”?

      • sol1711

        die usa haben zwar die u-20 weltmeisterschaft gewonnen, aber das war der chelsea effekt, scheisse spielen und trotzdem gewinnen.

        dzsenifer marozsan hat den goldenen ball gewonnen und laura benkrath war beste torhüterin, das bessere team hat leider verloren.
        viel spass beim übersetzen, tschüss

        • Steglitz49

          “The winner takes it all”, sang ABBA.

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