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Led by the men’s soccer national championship and field hockey’s second consecutive national runner-up finish, Carolina placed eighth in the final Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings for 2011-12.
The competition measures success in NCAA men’s and women’s postseason competition in all varsity sports. This is Carolina’s fourth consecutive top-10 finish, its 10th top 10 in the past 11 years and its 16th top 10 in the 19-year history of the competition.
UNC’s 16 top-10 finishes are the fourth-most among all schools. Stanford and Florida have finished in the top 10 in all 19 seasons and UCLA has 17 top 10s. Those schools finished one-two-three in 2012 with the Cardinal winning top honors for the 18th straight year, Florida placing second and UCLA third.
Florida State led all Atlantic Coast Conference schools with a fifth-place finish. Carolina was next, the 17th time in 19 years that the Tar Heels have finished either first or second among ACC schools.
The Tar Heels had four sports finish in the top five nationally, including men’s soccer, which under first-year head coach Carlos Somoano won the school’s second NCAA title. Field hockey’s Karen Shelton took her squad to the national title game for the 14th time.
Men’s basketball and women’s lacrosse reached the Final Eight of their respective NCAA Tournaments, earning fifth-place finishes.
Five more UNC sports placed in the top 10 — men’s lacrosse, women’s soccer, men’s tennis and women’s tennis were all ninth, and women’s golf finished 10th.
Florida State and North Carolina were two of four ACC schools to finish in the Top 25 with Virginia (15th) and Duke (16th).
UNC won the inaugural competition in 1994 and has finished second four times.