Weekend Wrap: August 27
The weekend in Tar Heel athletics:
Women’s soccer: Tied #20 Florida 0-0, defeated Montreal 1-0 in double OT on Sunday. More on Anson Dorrance’s club below.
Men’s soccer: The top-ranked Tar Heels waxed Gardner-Webb 4-0 on Saturday in a match that also included an emotional tribute to Kirk Urso.
Field hockey: Thumped #10 Michigan 5-1, then shut out #12 Iowa 5-0. The Tar Heels are ranked second in the country and again should contend for national honors.
Volleyball: Opened the season with a 3-0 loss at Kentucky on Friday, but rebounded with wins over Long Beach State and Lipscomb. The win over the 49ers was a tough five-setter.
Beyond the box scores, it was a relatively quiet weekend for Carolina athletics. Larry Fedora’s squad held a mock game on Saturday. And when they say they’re going to simulate a game, they really do it up right—they even do a mock Old Well Walk. Carolina football got some tangential good publicity this week when Sports Business Journal released its list of the most influential people in college football. Two Carolina alums (Jim Delany of the Big Ten and John Skipper of ESPN) are in the top three of that list, and John Swofford is seventh. When I linked that story on Twitter this weekend, it never crossed my mind that it could be interpreted as a negative. But several of the immediate responses were from NC State fans claiming the list exposed the conspiracy to cover up all sorts of misdeeds at Carolina. If they're all in cahoots to cover up transgressions, they sure aren't doing a very good job.
Last week, we had video of Tyler Hansbrough surprising a Children’s Hospital patient. Well, more odd Hansbrough videos continue to surface. This week, we have Hansbrough and Dewey Burke, plus former manager Preston Puckett, interacting with Coolio. Yes, read that sentence one more time.
“The Late Pumpkin”? You’re Coolio and all you’ve got is “The Late Pumpkin”? I will say that I'm not sure I ever thought I'd hear Tyler Hansbrough say the phrase, "It's all good, Coolio."
The 2012-13 Tar Heels will be without Hansbrough or Burke, but they will play on a fairly unusual court on the trip to Long Beach State. That’s the game (it's on Nov. 16) that’s played to break up the long trip to Maui. Hopefully, the television networks will decide to grace you with the full nonconference hoops schedule sometime before you go out to buy your Thanksgiving turkey.
The Little League World Series, which has been on our television at home for roughly 88% of the waking hours over the last two weeks, ended Sunday. My son and I went. All tickets are general admission, and when we found our seats, who should sit down on the row in front of us but an elderly gentleman and his wife…both wearing Carolina hats. Just like us, it was their first time in Williamsport, and he clearly had some Little League coaching experience, because he felt it was imperative to let the runners going around third base know whether they should try to score or stop. This was despite the fact that we were seated down the first base line. That brings us to…
Best story I read this weekend: The Nashville Tennessean profiling what it’s like—the good and the bad—to be a parent of a player at the Little League World Series
Three Tar Heel topics to watch this week:
1. Finally, football! The Tar Heels kick off against Elon on Saturday.
2. So, what’s the story with women’s soccer? The Tar Heels are ranked…let’s see here, we’ll just check the top five, er, ten, OK, 15, what, TWENTY…the Tar Heels are ranked 19th, and they’ve struggled with early-season competition they would usually blow away. The 1-0 win over Montreal on Sunday finally snapped a streak of 382 consecutive minutes without a goal. But wait a second—three would-be Carolina starters are playing with the United States U-20 team, and another competed with the New Zealand squad that was knocked out Sunday. Dorrance’s club also has injury issues, so it’s a group that should be much better in October than they are right now at the end of August. Until then, though, you’re likely to have to look a little further down the rankings than usual to locate them.
3. Final NFL cuts are getting closer, and several Tar Heels are on the verge of making a team (or possibly a practice squad). Turner ran down a few of the less familiar names last week.
Game to watch this week:
The aforementioned women’s soccer team travels to Notre Dame for an interesting invitational. The Tar Heels face Connecticut on Friday and then play the homestanding Irish on Sunday.
Tar Heels on ESPN3 this week:
None until the football team faces Elon on Saturday at 12:30.