In a closely fought contest, seizing opportunities made all the difference.
The North Carolina women’s soccer team came up just short once more against Florida State, losing 2-1 in the ACC Tournament semifinals. But it wasn’t because the team couldn’t produce chances.
The third-seeded Tar Heels and second-seeded Seminoles both found numerous chances to put goals away, and in the end it was UNC’s inability to finish scoring opportunities that cost the team a crucial postseason victory.
Both teams took 15 shots, but the Tar Heels simply couldn’t find the mark. Only four of UNC’s shots were on goal, while the Seminoles put 11 of their 15 on frame, keeping both North Carolina goalkeepers busy all night.
This marked UNC’s second loss to Florida State this season, the first coming in Tallahassee, Florida on Oct. 11. While both games were lost by one goal, the Tar Heels competed on a different level Friday night.
UNC attacked the Seminoles in waves throughout the game, looking like a different team than the one the Seminoles defeated in October.
Now eliminated from the ACC Tournament, the Tar Heels have set their sights on the NCAA Tournament. At the pace UNC runs, the team could have great success generating chances in a quest of another national championship win, but Coach Anson Dorrance and his players will have to focus on finishing if they want to come away with a 23rd title.
“If anyone watches our game against FSU, and they see us in their bracket, they’re going to be going, ‘Holy ... fill in the blank.’” — Dorrance on his team’s potential entering the NCAA Tournament.
UNC held a home-field advantage Friday night, playing at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary. And if the Tar Heels do find themselves in the College Cup come December, they will be in Cary again.
Three numbers that matter
62: Coming off a season which ended with a torn ACL, redshirt junior Hanna Gardner played 62 minutes against Florida State.
9: The North Carolina goalkeepers were forced to make nine saves against Florida State. On the other side, the Seminoles only had three saves on the day.
3: Of UNC’s four shots on target, Alexa Newfield had three of them. Newfield was heavily involved and highly efficient, even scoring on a set piece in the second half to tie the score at 1.
The NCAA Women's Soccer Championship bracket will be announced on November 9 at 4:30 p.m. The first round of the tournament will begin on Nov. 13.
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