And the seniors weren’t ready to leave their North Carolina home with another loss.
The team also found extra motivation from lagging behind Clemson (12-3-1, 6-3-0 ACC) in the ACC standings. Only four teams make the ACC Tournament at the end of the season. Before the game, Clemson was fourth and UNC fifth.
The Tar Heels were determined not to be left out in the cold.
Nielsen led a strong defensive push for the Tar Heels in the first half, helping to suffocate the Tigers’ front line and keep the game scoreless.
On the other half of the field, Newfield drilled cross after cross into the box, but UNC couldn’t capitalize with a goal.
The Tar Heels had a 3-2 edge in shots at the end of the first half, but couldn’t find the back of the net.
It was sophomore forward Jessie Scarpa who scored the only goal of the game. She received a pass from junior midfielder Joanna Boyles in the box and knocked the ball into the back of the net. The goal gave the Tar Heels a 1-0 lead and the seniors a victory.
“One of our mottos is we play every game for our seniors,” Scarpa said. “And there was some pressure because if we win the rest of the games of the season we make the ACC Tournament.”
In Green’s sentimental senior game, she helped lead a strong offensive attack that pressured Clemson from the first whistle.
“Everyone fought and won their battle in the field — it was just a collective team effort,” Green said. “(It was) a way to turn around our season, I think. We really needed it.”
The senior forward fought her way back into the starting lineup earlier this season, and ranks third on the team in goals scored with six. The Tar Heels won the national championship in Green’s first year in 2012, and she’s eager to go back
With Sunday’s win, the Tar Heels moved one step closer. UNC tied Clemson for fourth place in the ACC.
The team hopes to give their seniors many more games to play in the postseason.
Dorrance echoed this sentiment.
“We want them to stay with us forever.”