But five minutes later, a persistent Ohai took the ball again, weaved through traffic and finally cashed in.
The goal was just the first of six in the blowout of Miami (6-5-1, ACC 1-3), but it would prove to be an important stepping stone in the game.
“It felt really good,” Ohai said. “I think we were really frustrated because we had so many opportunities against Florida State. We just couldn’t finish, and so today reflected us getting that off our chest and just finishing.”
Just two minutes after Ohai’s goal, midfielder Amber Brooks rode Ohai’s momentum, heading in another goal off a cross from Ranee Premji.
With the early 2-0 lead, UNC was able to breathe a collective sigh of relief.
“Getting goals early always helps,” said freshman Paige Nielsen, who scored UNC’s sixth goal Sunday. “Then you can relax and actually play the game, even though that’s not a comfortable lead at all. It helps us to gain our confidence and keep shooting and hopefully score more.”
The Tar Heels certainly kept shooting, tallying 28 shots by the end of the game.
And, unlike Thursday, they kept scoring as well.
In the 71st minute, Premji finished off a flick in the box and, in the process, initiated a three-goal scoring spree.
Katie Bowen added another goal 43 seconds later, and Maria Lubrano pushed one in 47 seconds after that.
For Ohai, that kind of outburst is a manifestation of the mental side of the game.
In the loss to FSU the mounting frustration created more misses, but in Sunday’s win, the opposite occurred.
“Our goals kind of come in clumps or packs, so we know it’s psychological.” Ohai said. “As soon as we get one, we’re gonna get more. And like in the second half, as soon as we get one, it opens up.”
It was a far different result from what occurred Thursday, but as Dorrance said after Sunday’s game, the effort was very much the same.
“It wasn’t like the girls had to prove themselves,” Dorrance said. “We know we’re a good team. We know we’re continuing to get better. But we also know that we got to get results, and this result today was outstanding for us.”
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