North Carolina, which lost a team-record three regular-season conference games, captured its 13th conference championship in the 14 years of ACC women's soccer competition.
The third-seeded Tar Heels beat an overmatched Duke squad
4-0 in the ACC tournament final Sunday in front of 5,273 fans at Koskinen Stadium.
UNC has earned a first-round bye in the NCAA Women's College Cup. It will play a second-round game Saturday or Sunday at Fetzer Field against the winner of the Liberty-Wake Forest game.
Even though North Carolina (16-3) has captured 13 ACC titles, this tournament win - UNC's 12th straight conference title - means a little bit more to the Tar Heels.
"We're thrilled to be conference champions again, especially in light of the season where we took some hits," UNC coach Anson Dorrance said. "I'm pleased not just because we won, but because we played tremendously well."
The fifth-seeded Blue Devils (13-7-1) upset top-seed Clemson 1-0 on Friday in the semifinals. Duke's reward was playing a Tar Heel team trying to dispel rumors that its dynasty is crumbling.
"We did feel like we had to prove something," tournament MVP Meredith Florance said. "There were a number of comments writing us off, and we just needed to come together and show the country that we can play."
Sunday, as during the entire tournament, UNC played like the UNC of old. The Tar Heel forwards pressured the Duke defense into several turnovers, one of which led to the first goal of the game.