As the announcer at Fetzer Field counted the clock down to zero during the North Carolina women’s soccer game Sunday in the third round of the NCAA Tournament, senior defender Satara Murray stopped in her place on the field and reluctantly lowered herself to the grass.
The number next to UNC on the scoreboard read zero. The number next to South Carolina read one. The No. 18 Gamecocks rushed from their bench to celebrate the elimination of the No. 6 Tar Heels (14-4-2).
Murray stayed on the ground, processing the defeat and turning away as her fellow co-captain Katie Bowen tried to console her.
A couple of South Carolina players came over to shake her hand and congratulate her on her final performance at Fetzer Field.
A few minutes later in the post-game press conference, she looked devastated but remained composed. A strong leader from start to finish, her words were nothing but positive.
“Ending my collegiate career today — it is heartbreaking,” Murray said. “But I’m excited. I’m excited to see where this team goes (in upcoming seasons).
“These girls play with so much heart and there is no other team in this country I would have ever played for except for the University of North Carolina.”
In the 23rd minute, the Gamecocks (14-5-5) penetrated a North Carolina defense that had been playing at a stifling level all season long. South Carolina’s surprise strike from 20 yards out was just the 15th goal that the UNC back line gave up across their 20-game season.
A big part of that defensive success was thanks to Murray, who was second on the team in total minutes — playing all but 16 minutes of the entire season.