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The Daily Tar Heel

Last minute goal lands UNC women's soccer win


Kealia Ohai jumps over a fallen player and dribbles down Fetzer Field. Ohai scored the winning goal against the Blue Devils in the 88th minute.

Kealia Ohai knows it only takes one chance to put a ball in the goal and steal a win in a tied game.

And after No. 4 Duke squandered away four open net chances throughout the game, she wasn’t going to let the Blue Devils have the last shot.

In the 88th minute with the game tied at zero, Courtney Jones sent a free kick into the box to Amber Brooks posted up on the far post. Brooks flicked the ball back to Ohai in front of the net, and the game was in the Tar Heels’ hands from there.

“They were sending it in the box and I just knew I had to move somewhere,” Ohai said. “I fell down, I don’t even know how. Then I looked over and the ball was in front of me and I just kicked it and it went through the goalie’s legs. And it was a goal.”

The goal put No. 10 North Carolina ahead 1-0 in the closing minutes, a lead the Tar Heels would hold onto to defeat Duke Thursday night.

While Ohai’s goal was the difference on the scoreboard, Duke’s missed opportunities were the story of the night.

Playing without leading scorer Kelly Cobb, Duke was never able to find the net despite multiple looks in the attacking third.

Laura Weinberg, Chelsea Canepa and Kim DeCesare all caught goalkeeper Adelaide Gay out of the goal in the first half. But each time the Blue Devils got a bad touch and Duke remained scoreless.

“The game was lost in the first half,” Duke coach Robbie Church said. “We had chances — we had a lot of chances. We got to execute and stick one of those chances and the game is completely different.
“They made the play at the end. We didn’t make the play.”

The Blue Devils also had a two-on-one chance in the 81st minute with goalkeeper Anna Sieloff out of position, but Meg Morris pressured a shot that went just right of the post.

But Ohai wouldn’t let Duke’s chances rattle her.

“I kind of just shake it off and block it out,” she said. “We just need that one chance, that one opportunity, and we can get a goal.”
Although not as promising as Duke’s looks, the Tar Heels also threatened the Blue Devils many times.

UNC had an 11-1 corner kick advantage, an area in which the Tar Heels have found success throughout the season.

Jones and Ohai both had clear looks on goal in the first half that sailed just over the crossbar.

“You can get the ball 10 times and maybe beat someone one time,” Ohai said. “And that’s just how the game is. You just have to keep going and keep shooting … but if you keep going, that 10th time, you can get it.”

This match marked the first game at Fetzer Field that Duke came in ranked higher than North Carolina.

The win pulls UNC within one point of Duke in the conference standings. Ohai said that getting a win in the rivalry was critical for UNC’s shot at a conference title.

“We knew this was a turning point for our season,” she said. “We really needed this game, and now we’re set up perfectly.”

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