The renowned UNC women's soccer team are set to play for what would be their second consecutive national title. The opponent, however, is formidable: the undefeated Stanford Cardinals (25-0-0).
Coverage of the game in College Station, Texas, begins at 1 p.m. on ESPN2. The Tar Heels (22-3-1) are led by senior All-American Casey Nogueira, whose late goal on Friday lifted her team over rival Notre Dame in the semifinal.
This will be Carolina's 23rd appearance in the NCAA final. The College Cup's history is only 28 years old.
Last year, UNC communication studies professor Hap Kindem unveiled Winning Isn't Everything, his documentary study of the soccer program and the one and only coach in its history, Anson Dorrance. This afternoon at 5 p.m., the film will be shown at the newly reopened Varsity Theatre.
A year ago, Neil Morris wrote about the film for the Independent. This morning, I watched a DVD of the film and discovered that—in a week in which I've been immersed in the study of successful UNC coaches—that Dorrance shares a certain similar outlook with UNC basketball coach Roy Williams. As it happens, the 2007 season was a rare one that UNC women didn't win the national soccer championship, so in the film we have the unusual experience of seeing Dorrance deliver a post-defeat pep talk to his players:
I'm not one of these people that has a sort of Pollyanna attitude about losing. I love to compete from positions of winning—I think it gives us a confidence. I don't want teams to think they can ever beat us. I want to win games not just because we happened to squeak in a goal. I want to win games by dominating, I want to throttle teams—and consistently throttle them so they never feel in the back of their minds that we can ever be dominated. Even though we lost this year, no one dominated us. And I like that. Did you see the celebration of the Notre Dame team at the end of the game? I didn't either. You know why? They didn't celebrate, they knew they'd dodged a bullet, and they knew they were dominated. You understand what I'm saying? So I think domination is something we always want to preserve, but let's see if we can figure out ways to win along the way.
Change the sport to basketball, and you can find very similar sentiments in Williams' recently published memoir, Hard Work: A Life On and Off the Court.