The Tar Heels needed proof that their new offensive system worked, and that their 1-3 record against top 20 competition this season was just a fluke.
The Tar Heels got what they were looking for this weekend, topping No. 11 Virginia 3-1 and No. 2 Old Dominion 2-0.
"I'm absolutely thrilled to come out of that tough weekend with two wins," said UNC coach Karen Shelton. "(Sunday) wasn't pretty, but we found a way to win, and I think that's important."
On Sunday, UNC (5-3, 1-0) came out swinging against the Cavaliers (4-3, 0-1).
But despite 14 shots and nine penalty corners in the first half (compared to five shots and two corners for Virginia), the two teams entered halftime tied 0-0.
The second half started like the first ended, with both teams struggling to convert on their opportunities.
The drought finally ended when, with 12 minutes left, Virginia's Cara Unterkofler stole the ball in the Cavalier zone and moved it quickly upfield to midfielder Katie Phillips.
Phillips fired it past UNC goalkeeper Amy Tran for the first score of the game.
Little did Phillips know that her goal would open up the floodgates for the other side. UNC responded within five minutes.
"I think composure was the key," Kelsey Keeran said. "After they scored, Meredith (Keller) sort of pulled us in and said 'Don't give up, let's get it together.'"
With eight minutes to play, a frenzy of shots led to sophomore Kerry Falgowski stuffing in a floating rebound from five feet out to tie the game, 1-1.
Almost a minute later, a UNC penalty corner led to the game winner when Keller dribbled to the right side of the circle and slapped a shot into the net. Falgowski added a late goal to ice the victory.
Saturday's game against Old Dominion (5-2) was a different story, but with the same ending.
The Lady Monarchs had chances early, with six penalty corners and eight shots on goal, but nothing materialized.
While the Tar Heels only managed three penalty corners and six shots on goal, the last shot sent UNC into the break with a 1-0 lead.
With 2:08 left in the first half, back Alison Stewart lofted a bouncing pass from outside the box to a diving Keeran. Keeran jabbed the ball out of the air and poked it past the goalkeeper. It was all UNC would need, as Tran shut out the Lady Monarchs.
"The game Saturday was a good upper for us, because they were the No. 2 team," Falgowski said. "We proved to ourselves the we can hang with anybody in the country."
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