According to Coach Anson Dorrance, they were the best in the country at creating and scoring goals — a skill in the game he believes is the hardest to find.
When the duo left, after combining to score half of the team’s 50 goals during the 2013 season, it was clear the program would need to find some new finishers to continue its success.
As the No. 4 Tar Heels opened their season with games against No. 6 Stanford on Friday and Ohio State on Sunday, the team not only realized how tough it might be to score without Ohai and Dunn, but they also discovered their relief might come from some unlikely faces.
“You can talk about (finishing) until you’re blue in the face,” Dorrance said. “But it doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t matter what I say. We have to have a player emerge with the confidence to make a difference.”
The Tar Heels played for nearly 172 minutes this season and took 37 shots before finally scoring their first goal on Sunday.
Delivering the shot was freshman midfielder Megan Buckingham, who stood at the top of the box and buried a well-placed, game-winning bullet into the back of the net.
Dorrance credited Buckingham with a lion-like second half performance against Stanford and said he just barely decided against starting her against the Buckeyes.
After North Carolina outshot Stanford and then conceded an extra time goal for a 1-0 loss Friday, the Tar Heel faithful weren’t the only ones relieved by Buckingham’s strike on Sunday.