The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

Women's soccer wins fourth straight game after defeating Clemson 2-1

The script was oddly similar for the North Carolina women’s soccer team as the No. 9 Tar Heels (5-2-1, 2-0 ACC) clinched their fourth straight win on a month-long streak of six straight away games with a 2-1 victory against Clemson Thursday.

The No. 16 Tigers (7-2-1, 0-2 ACC) were the seventh ranked team UNC has faced in its eight games, placing the Tar Heels at No. 1 in this week’s RPI rankings, which account for strength of schedule.

“The RPI is more important than any poll,” coach Anson Dorrance said. “I’m not pretending that our team is No. 1, but with the way we’ve played and the caliber of our competition, I think our achievement is significant.”

As a reward for the tough stretch the team has faced, Dorrance said he took 26 players — the maximum number allowed for an ACC away game – with him to Clemson.

The decision was a good one as once again the reserves played a key role in the victory. Freshman midfielder Megan Buckingham broke a 1-1 tie and scored the game-winner with a header in the 77th minute.

Senior defender Satara Murray had rave reviews for the freshman’s contributions.

“Megan has a very good understanding of the game,” she said. “Not just her, but Annie Kingman and Jewel Christian too – they’re doing a fantastic job adjusting.

“What I love about it is that there’s not a drop when the reserves come in. They have an immediate impact, and I love it.”

Dorrance added that this year’s deep roster is unlike anything he’s seen before and a significant reason they’ve been able to win close games.

“What’s been really cool about this deep roster is the significance of every player that’s playing,” he said. “The difference between my 11th best player and my 19th best player is the closest that it’s been in my coaching history.”

With an abundance of youth, goal-scoring has been an issue for much of the season.

But in the last two games, UNC has scored more goals than it did in its first six matches ­­— something Dorrance sees as a sign of maturation.

“We’re starting to develop an attacking personality now,” he said. “Obviously, that’s critical in this league because the odds of shutting out every team in the ACC are remote.”

Behind the first of the two goals ­was sophomore midfielder Joanna Boyles, who headed a corner kick into the net four minutes in.

“I actually thought that it didn’t go in,” Boyles said. “Everyone started celebrating and I had to ask (Murray) whether it went in or not.”

Boyles and Buckingham are now the only UNC players with multiple goals on the season – each with two.

Boyles said she’s learning to step up and do whatever she can to help her team develop.

“I really was able to learn from Crystal Dunn and Kealia Ohai (last year),” she said. “After losing them, people had to step up this year.

“I think we have a lot of potential as a team and if I can put some goals on the board and help our team win, then that’s what I’m going to do.”

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.