Jessica McDonald scored in the third minute and North Carolina won its second straight NCAA championship on Sunday with a 1-0 win over Stanford in the Women's College Cup final.
The Tar Heels (23-3-1) earned their 21st national title (20 NCAA, one AIAW) and their sixth NCAA crown since 1999. They recorded their 10th shutout in 11 games, holding the high-scoring Cardinal to nine shots.
Stanford (25-1) failed in its bid to join North Carolina as the only teams to finish a perfect season _ no losses or ties _ with a championship. The Tar Heels have done that four times (1991-93, 2003).
The Cardinal was the nation's second-highest scoring team, with 80 goals this season, but the Tar Heels allowed only two shots on goal and finished their 19th shutout in 27 games.
Stanford's comeback hopes virtually ended when Kelley O'Hara, the nation's leading goal scorer, was issued her second yellow card _ an automatic ejection _ with 17:45 left in the game.
That left short-handed Stanford's chances of a rally to second-leading scorer Christen Press, and she nearly tied it with a 20-yard shot that North Carolina goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris leaped to punch away.
Press also broke through the defense in the 88th minute, took a pass from Rachel Quon and fired a long shot past Harris for an apparent tying goal, but linesman Martik Mirikian called her offside.
Stanford was the 12th team to enter the College Cup with a perfect record. Last year, Notre Dame came in at 25-0 before losing 2-1 to North Carolina in the final.
Casey Nogueira, who assisted on the goal, was the tournament's most outstanding offensive player. She fed McDonald with a high, bending pass into the goal area, and McDonald rushed in to chip it past goalkeeper Kira Maker.
Nogueira scored the goal in North Carolina's 1-0 win over Notre Dame in the semifinals.
The Tar Heels controlled Stanford's high-scoring offense from the start, holding the Cardinal without a shot for the first 17 minutes. O'Hara and Press hardly touched the ball in the first half, and the Tar Heels swarmed them every time they did.
O'Hara and Press scored the goals in Stanford's 2-1 win over UCLA in Friday's semifinal and formed the nation's highest-scoring duo this season, with 47 goals and 29 assists.
Press finally found some room late in the first half and sent a perfect cross to Courtney Verloo for an apparent goal with about 6 minutes left. Mirikian called Stanford offside on the play and the goal was negated.
North Carolina outshot Stanford 10-2 and had a 7-0 edge in corner kicks in the first half.
The Cardinal's offense was crisper after the break, and Stanford generated its first corner kick 6 minutes into the second half. O'Hara and Press got free for long shots over the goal in the next 10 minutes.
The Tar Heels gradually regained control, keeping the ball at the Stanford end for lengthy stretches. O'Hara then earned her second yellow card when she knocked down North Carolina's Whitney Engen.
North Carolina improved to 8-0-2 against Stanford. The Cardinal lost for the first time since a 1-0 defeat against Notre Dame in last year's College Cup semifinals.
The players in the final game dealt with persistent rain and unseasonably cold weather. The temperature at kickoff was 48 degrees, up from the mid-30s for Friday night's semifinals.
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