The ball was crossed into the middle but then headed wide, as the Tar Heels maintained their 1-0 lead.
UNC came out strong in the second half with a goal by sophomore Jessie Scarpa. She recovered the ball after an initial shot was deflected by the UCLA goalkeeper and pushed the ball into the back of the net to put UNC up 2-0.
Then the roles reversed.
Careless passes and holes in the Tar Heels’ defense gave UCLA the opportunity to get back in the game. In the 82nd minute, the Bruins’ Kodi Lavrusky took advantage. She beat UNC’s defense and kicked the ball into the lower left corner of the goal.
With the Tar Heels’ lead at 2-1, the final seven minutes of the match became scrappy.
Scarpa scored the final goal of the game in the 85th minute to increase UNC’s lead to 3-1. UCLA senior Taylor Smith was issued a red card about two minutes later, forcing the Bruins to play the rest of the match with 10 players on the field and down two goals.
“So we are in the airport waiting to leave for Nebraska (on Thursday), and I am in the security line and there is a girl about here or four people ahead of me with flaming red hair— I mean flaming red.
“One of my players came up and said, ‘Anson, will you dye your hair that way if we win the national championship?’ And I was thinking yes, and then it came out and I actually said yes.” — Coach Anson Dorrance on the championship-oriented mindset of the team this year.
Sophomore forward Jessie Scarpa took six shots, the most of anyone during the game. Five of her shots were on goal.
3 numbers that matter
0: Assists made by the Tar Heels on their three goals.
0: Saves made by the Tar Heels’ goalkeepers in the entirety of the game.
4: Matches between UNC and UCLA in the past 24 months.
UNC will play Virginia Tech on Saturday at 7 p.m.