And with virtually no relief from its offense, cracks began to show through in the Tar Heel defense. Duke continued to show passing prowess, finding holes behind UNC’s back line.
But the Blue Devils simply couldn’t get past UNC goalkeeper Lindsey Harris to find the back of the net.
Who Stood Out?
Duke tested Harris with 13 shots in the first half, adding 17 more in the second half and the two overtime periods, with 11 shots on goal in the game. None got past the redshirt senior, though.
Harris stood on her head, recording her career-high in saves. She would not be beaten, and kept her team in the game time and again.
Had it not been for her efforts, UNC would have found itself on the wrong end of a blowout.
UNC Coach Anson Dorrance elected to start two first-years — midfielder Bridgette Andrzejewski and forward Zoe Redei — over some of his more experienced players. While the two produced three of UNC’s four shots in the game, neither looked entirely comfortable at any point in the game. Though, many of their teammates did not either.
Andrejewski struggled receiving balls coming out of the defense, which stifled numerous potential counterattacks for the UNC offense. Duke’s pressure clearly bothered Andrejewski as well, as she was dispossessed and intercepted on multiple occasions, allowing for some of Duke’s scoring chances.
Redei fared better, holding the ball well in the final third when she was given the chance to. But she failed to make the runs necessary to threaten Duke’s goalkeeper.
When was it decided?
Despite numerous scoring chances for the Blue Devils, they simply could not find the net. Duke had chances as late as the final second of the game, but they never did crack the Lindsey Harris code.
Why does it matter?
In an early matchup between top-10 opponents, Duke’s class and dominance showed through, despite being unable to find the net. While UNC is ranked just one notch lower, Duke looked to be far-and-away the better team.
The Blue Devils reached the national championship game last season, and proved that another trip is certainly not out of the question. Even with a draw, Duke can expect to make a jump in the standings.
For the Tar Heels, Friday night meant they will have to improve drastically if they hope to topple the Blue Devils and conquer the ACC this season.
The two teams won’t meet again in the regular season, but they might meet again in post-season play. Both squads are expected to earn places in both the ACC and NCAA tournaments.
Where do they play next?
The Tar Heels will face Villanova Sunday at noon in their second game of the Duke Nike Classic.