Duke continued to beat UNC to the ball throughout the game, even with an increased Tar Heel effort in the second half to get more bodies in the pile for possession.
“They were definitely crashing, and in the first half they were controlling where the ball was going,” senior Corey Donohoe said. “We definitely made them work for the draw in the second half though. We had two or three people on every draw or every loose ball but sometimes they just came up with it.”
North Carolina started off strong, scoring the game’s first two goals, and sophomore Kara Cannizzaro contributed an assist and a goal in less than a minute. She finished with a career-high four goals in the game.
But Duke responded with a run of its own, scoring four goals in just more than 10 minutes. The Blue Devils controlled possession throughout the run, winning draws immediately after scoring and forcing UNC turnovers.
After gaining possession, Duke set picks and worked the ball around the goal to create one-on-one situations and exploit mismatches. Blue Devil junior midfielder Kim Wenger had four goals in the game, a result of the Tar Heels’ failure to get in good position to anticipate and cut off her drives to the goal.
“I think we weren’t playing our angles right,” Cannizzaro said. “We weren’t doing the basics.”
After trading goals for the rest of the first half and much of the second, Duke created a three-goal lead with 19:22 left on the clock with a Kat Thomas solo take to the goal.
But the Tar Heels responded quickly, netting three goals in five minutes to tie the score.
Donohoe said she felt the momentum shift in UNC’s favor after the score-tying run, but she was shut down by the Blue Devil defense. The All-American scored her first and only goal of the game 10 minutes into the second half.
“I didn’t get to touch the ball as much today so I think things were a little more rushed,” Donohoe said. “There were just a few times when we weren’t patient on offense where we could have easily just worked the ball around once and got into a set play and then attack.”
After two Duke goals, Cannizzaro scored on a free position shot with six minutes left and had the ball in her stick with under a minute to go for the game’s final possession. But the Duke defense held its ground to squeak out a one-goal victory.
“I thought we had the momentum and we were going to pull it off, but we didn’t,” Cannizzaro said. “It happens.”
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