CARY, NC (December 6) The University of Connecticut womens soccer team will play the 2003 Womens Division I College Cup title on Sunday, December 7 at SAS Soccer Park in Cary, NC. The Huskies will face the top-seeded North Carolina Tarheels at 2:00 pm, televised nationally on espn2.
The Huskies advanced to the championship game with a 2-0 blanking of No. 11 seeded Florida State on Friday, December 5. Kristen Graczyk (Albuquerque, NM) tallied both Connecticut goals, while Erin Rice (Keller, TX) was solid in net making four key saves.
North Carolina advanced with a 3-0 shutout over No. 4 seeded UCLA, also on Friday afternoon. The Tarheels have yet to allow a goal in NCAA Tournament play, having outscored its opponent, 26-0 in five games.
Sunday's final between the two squads will be the fourth meeting in an NCAA final, and UConn is still seeking its first goal. North Carolina won in 1984 (2-0), 1990 (6-0) and 1997 (2-0).
UCONN IN THE FINAL
With their 2-0 shutout of Florida State in the semifinal, the Huskies advanced to the National Championship game for the fourth time in their history. The Huskies were pitted against UNC in the previous three match-ups as well. In the 1997 final, UConn dropped a 2-0 decision to the Heels and were out-shot 20-to-5. UConn stayed close for most of the match, until UNC scored its second goal in the games 87th minute.
UConn also squared-off with the Heels in the 1990 Final, a game they lost 6-0 and were out-shot 21-to-7. Finally, UConn and UNC met in the 1984 final and the Tar Heels once again shutout the Huskies, 2-0. The first half was scoreless, but UNC turned up the heat in the second half scoring two goals in just over three minutes of each other (77:05, 80:23). UConn is yet to score in a National Championship game, being out-scored 10-to-0 by Carolina.
ON THE BRINK
With its 2-0 victory over FSU in Fridays semifinal match-up, the Huskies advanced to the National Championship game for the fourth time in their history. UConns four appearances in the Final are tied for second-most all-time with Notre Dame, a squad that advanced in 1994, 95, 96, and 1999. George Mason has made three trips to the Final (1983 85, 93) and Santa Clara, Portland, and Colorado College have each made two trips.
PLANTING A SEED
The Huskies are the first unseeded team to advance to the College Cup Final since 1993, when unseeded George Mason defeated Stanford, the Tournaments No. 2 seed, 1-1 (4 OT, pk) in the semifinal. George Mason went on to lose to North Carolina 6-0 in the Final. The 93 Tournament included only 16 teams and four seeded teams. The 2003 Huskies are the first unseeded team to advance to the NCAA National Championship game since the Tournament expanded to 64 teams in 2001. The 2001 and 2003 tournament had eight seeded teams, while this is the first year the NCAA has seeded 16 teams.
UConn has won two games against Carolina all-time, the more notable coming on September 22, 1990 in Storrs. The Huskies defeated the Tar Heels on Britton Aricos penalty kick in overtime to snap UNCs 103 game unbeaten streak.
Overall, UConn is 2-14 against the Tar Heels, with its last win coming in 1990, a 3-2 overtime victory in Storrs, CT. UConn has lost the last eight meetings between the two programs.
The following is an outline of UConn/UNC series:
2000 -- NCAA Quarters -- L, 1-3
1999 -- Regular Season -- L, 1-3
1997 -- NCAA Final -- L, 0-2
1994 -- NCAA Semis -- L, 0-3
1993 -- Regular Season -- L, 0-2
1992 -- Regular Season -- L, 1-5
1991 -- Regular Season -- L, 0-2
1990 -- NCAA Final -- L, 0-6
1990 -- Regular Season -- W, 3-2 (OT)
1989 -- Regular Season -- L, 0-1
1986 -- Regular Season -- L, 0-3
1985 -- Regular Season -- L, 0-5
1984 -- NCAA Final -- L, 0-2
1983 -- Regular Season -- W, 3-1
1981 -- Regular Season -- L, 0-2
1981 -- AIAW Semis -- L, 0-5
GETTING IT DONE
With her two goals against FSU on Friday, Kristen Graczyk bounded into seventh place on UConns career-points list with 112. Graczyk has now netted 45 goals in her 2+ years at UConn and is now tied for fourth place all-time on UConns all-time goals scored list.
GETTING IT DONE IN NCAA PLAY
Graczyk is currently UConns all-time leader in points and goals scored during NCAA Tournament play. The junior forward has found the back of the net 10 times in her career and has assisted on four other goals for a total of 24 points. The old record for goals scored in NCAA action was five, a mark held by Sara Whalen, Melissa Morrone, and Donna MacDougall. The previous UConn record for all-time points in NCAA Tournament play was 13, a mark held by Whalen and Morrone.
GETTING IT DONE IN 2003
Graczyks 20 goals this season are tied for fifth-most all-time in UConn single season history. The single-season record holders for goals scored are Jen Carlson (1997) and Mary-Frances Monroe (1998). Both Carlson and Monroe tallied 24 goals. Graczyks 52 points this season place her sixth on UConns single-season points list. Monroe is the record holder with 65 points in 1998.
PRICE IS RICE
Senior goalkeeper Erin Rice has notched three shutouts in this years NCAA Tournament en route to earning a goals against average of .60 in five starts. Her gaa of .60 is second all-time amongst UConn goalies in Tournament action. Jennifer Traw (1996-97) is the record holder with a gaa of .333.
The Huskies at SAS Soccer Park in Cary, NC
UConn prepares for the National Championship Game on Saturday
UConn players sign autograph's at the YES Clinic on Saturday