North Carolina, N.C. State and Duke all posted victories in the NCAA women’s tournament on Friday, advancing all three Triangle teams into the event’s Sweet 16. The second-seeded Tar Heels scored twice in the second half to beat Kansas 2-0 in Chapel Hill, the third-seeded and defending national runnerup Blue Devils, also playing on its home field, beat Illinois State 3-1 while the unseeded Wolfpack continued its surprise run with a 1-0 shutout of Pepperdine in Palo Alto, Calif. State, which beat Minnesota on penalty kicks in the opening round, got its game-winner against Pepperdine in the 65th minute when California native Taylor Porter headed in a cross from teammate Kristina Schuster. Keeper Sydney Wootten made the goal hold up for the victory as the Wolfpack outshot the Waves 8-4. State (11-8-2) has now eliminated the champions from the Big 10 and West Coast Conference and will take on either Stanford or Santa Clara on Sunday. It is only the fourth time in school history that the Wolfpack has advanced this far in the women’s soccer tournament. Unlike State, UNC is accustomed to tournament success. The Tar Heels have won 22 national championships, though none since 2012. This year’s team took its first step toward ending that drought by getting goals from Madison Shultz in the 53rd minute and Maya Worth in the 79th. UNC dominated the match, outshooting the Jayhawks 19-5, while taking 16 straight at one point to make things easy on goalie Lindsey Harris. The Tar Heels (15-3-4) will advance to a Sweet 16 matchup with ACC rival Clemson on Sunday at Fetzer Field. The Tigers earned their victory in penalty kicks after a scoreless draw with Arkansas. Duke, meanwhile, got a pair of second half goals from senior Toni Payne to finally pull away from pesky Illinois State and claim its 14th straight NCAA tournament win on its home field. The Blue Devils (14-4-3) were frustrated through a scoreless first half in which they outshot the Redbirds 18-1. They finally got on the board when Payne took a through ball from Imani Dorsey and beat goalie Haley Smith in the 48th minute. Illinois State tied the score in the 74th minute when Brooke Ksiazak converted a corner for her first goal of the season. But Dorsey answered right back in the 78th minute, followed in rapid succession by a clinching goal from Casey Martinez. The victory sends the Blue Devils into a Sweet 16 matchup with Northwestern, which earlier beat Southern Illinois 1-0. The game will be played at 2 p.m. at Koskinen Stadium.
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