NORFOLK, Va. — After North Carolina lost to Syracuse 1-0 Sept. 1 in an exhausting overtime game, coach Karen Shelton said she’d rather see her team exposed earlier in the season than later.
When UNC (23-1) faced off against the Orange (19-3) Saturday in the NCAA semifinal game, it was clear it had taken the lessons of that early-season loss — its only defeat of the year — to heart.
The No. 1 Tar Heels ran up a 6-1 tally against the nation’s No. 5 team to advance to the national championship game, which will be played on Sunday against Princeton.
Syracuse’s Lauren Brooks scored the game’s first goal in the eighth minute, but UNC answered with four of its own before the half was over. Senior captain Kelsey Kolojejchick said her team’s ability to overcome that early deficit — and to keep its foot on the gas even with a sizable lead — showed just how far her team had come since the September defeat.
“We hate losing — I don’t want to call it a revenge type of game, but we weren’t going to let it happen again,” Kolojejchick said. “The attitude of the team was really focused, and we were ready to go.”