Current Date: Tue, 11 Mar 2014 00:20:18 -0400
Nobody could say Kealia Ohai, or any other North Carolina women’s soccer player, didn’t try to unseat top-ranked Florida State on Thursday night.
As a team, UNC (5-3-2) finished the game, a 1-0 loss to the Seminoles at Fetzer Field, with 14 shots. FSU had just five.
In 83 minutes, Ohai had three shots, two on goal, and countless other chances to make something happen offensively.
But during a night when they desperately needed follow-throughs, chances were all the Tar Heels could muster.
“That’s just how soccer is,” Ohai said. “We didn’t get it done.”
Florida State (10-0), which is off to the best start in program history, recorded its fifth consecutive shutout. It was the third time this season the Tar Heels failed to record a single goal.
Throughout the match, Ohai was the Tar Heels’ biggest threat as she raced up and down the field in an attempt to get by the Seminoles’ stingy defense. A petite Ohai was often stopped dead in her tracks by 5-foot-10 Seminole defender Kristin Grubka, who used her size advantage to box out Ohai on critical possessions.
Still, coach Anson Dorrance was pleased with his star player’s dogged effort.
“In a foot race, I put my money on Kealia,” Dorrance said. “But still, these are experienced defenders. They know who she is — she’s had to play with that mantle every since we’ve recruited her.”
In addition to the advantage on shots, UNC had four corner kicks Thursday to Florida State’s one. FSU goalkeeper Kelsey Wys finished the game with seven saves to lead her team to its first ever regulation victory against UNC.
Dorrance was quick to acknowledge the Seminoles’ defensive brilliance. Also glaring, though, was his team’s lack of composure at the moments when it needed it the most.
“The Lionel Messis, the Cristiano Ronaldos, the great goal-scorers, they have the composure during that moment to calm themselves and basically finish chances,” Dorrance said. “We’re not there yet.”
The Tar Heels work on shooting in practice every day, Ohai said. But what the Tar Heels lacked Thursday, she conceded, couldn’t exactly be taught.
“Composure is just something that you kind of have to develop,” Ohai said. “You can’t really create a game situation. We just need to have that confidence.”
Dorrance wasn’t angry at his team after its third loss this season. He was pleased that the Tar Heels dominated in just about every offensive category.
He just couldn’t overlook the only one in which they didn’t.
“What a travesty of justice,” Dorrance muttered to himself as he stood on the pitch after the game, shaking his head and staring at the one-sided box score in his hand.
But, as the Tar Heels admitted before they sauntered off Fetzer Field, that’s just soccer.
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