50-50 balls: Flash to host UNC in preseason, FC Buffalo’s Murphy snags job at D’Youville
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • March 01, 2013 @ 11:53am
Two exciting bits of soccer news have circulated quickly on local social media over the last 24 hours, and since the onset of March hints at warmer weather, muddier pitches and long-sleeve Under Armor, we figured we may as well share the announcements.
The three-time defending women’s professional league champs Western New York Flash have announced that the University of North Carolina will be welcomed to Rochester as a preseason opponent. Even though Aaran Lines’ Flash may have ruled the various U.S. women’s pro leagues, Anson Dorrance’s Tar Heels are no slouch and should be a fine early test for Abby Wambach, Carli Lloyd and the star-studded Flash.
The clash will take place at noon on April 7 at Sahlen’s Stadium, 460 Oak St., Rochester. Tickets are free for season ticket holders and those with Flex 11 packages, and general admission costs $10 at the gate or by calling (585) 454-KICK.
Even in what could be considered a “down year” for one of the NCAA’s most dominant women’s soccer programs, the 2012 Heels crushed Penn State 4-1 to win Dorrance’s 21st NCAA National Championship at UNC. That’s 21 national championships! That’s an absurdly impressive number and speaks to North Carolina’s consistent dominance.
While we’ve written at length about the Flash’s international allocations, college draft picks, supplemental draft choices and free agents—and also dissected their 2013 schedule—the Tar Heels’ structure, pride and youthful exuberance will challenge a Flash team that will be long on skill but short on chemistry.
Players to watch for UNC:
Junior forward Kealia Ohai led the Heels in scoring with nine goals and five assists, notched a goal in the NCAA title game and is in the player pool for the U.S. U-20s.
Junior defender Crystal Dunn, who owns 38 caps with the U.S. U-20s, returns after scoring five goals and dropping five assists in 2012.
Sophomore defender Taylor Ramirez and junior goalie Anna Sieloff are a part of the U.S. U-20 player pool.
Former Flash players Ashlyn Harris and Yael Averbuch were North Carolina graduates.
Senior, third-leading scorer and U.S. U-23 starlet Amber Brooks will graduate at the end of this year and probably won’t feature for UNC in the spring tilt.
In other local soccer news, FC Buffalo head coach Brendan Murphy has been hired as head coach at D’Youville College, replacing departed coach Matt McCormick. The new FC Buffalo leader has a mighty task ahead with a D’Youville team that finished 3-15 this year in the same conference as powerhouse Medaille and startlingly-competitive Hilbert.
Here’s FC Buffalo’s statement on Murphy’s hiring in the collegiate ranks—for clarification, he can coach both the Blitzers during the summer and the Spartans during the fall.
“We’re incredibly proud and pleased that D’Youville and athletic director Brian Cavanaugh see the same things in Coach Murphy that we do and we know he’s going to do incredible things for the Spartan program, FC Buffalo and Buffalo soccer in general.”
His ties to the Amherst Soccer Association should be a boon for recruiting locally, however, and he does return a few solid contributors in former Maryvale forward Shawn Powers, senior keeper Matt Smith and junior defender Anthony Galvano.
(Interior photo of Wambach courtesy of ISI Photos from U.S. Soccer’s Facebook page).