The Tar Heels drew a blank offensively, costing them a shutout in the first loss of the season. They were saved from further damage in the 86th minute when a Trojan penalty kick was called back after the shot was put in off of a rebound from the post, untouched by a goalkeeper.
The Tar Heels allowed one second-half goal in the 3-0 defeat, marking their most goals allowed in a regular season loss since a 4-3 overtime loss to Texas A&M five years ago to the day.
Who stood out?
With less than 10 minutes remaining in the first half, USC was awarded a penalty kick for a handball in the box. Lindsey Harris dove to her right, extending just far enough to save the Tar Heels from a 3-0 first-half deficit.
Despite allowing all three of the goals on Sunday, Harris also recorded three saves, including the big grab on the penalty kick. Coming off a career-high 11-save game last week against Duke, which earned her ACC defensive player of the week honors, Harris’ effort was not helped by the Tar Heel defense as USC managed to put together impressive offensive drives throughout the game on Sunday.
When was it decided?
Coach Anson Dorrance’s Tar Heel’s adjusted after a two-goal deficit in the first half, starting the second period on a frenzied offensive push. The Tar Heels took control of the possession and seemed to be on the verge of breaking through, but USC countered, scoring a third goal in the 65th minute. The Tar Heels had no response, ultimately falling flat in the loss.
Why does it matter?
The Tar Heels are undisputedly the most successful women’s soccer program in NCAA history, but if they don’t finish this season with a National Championship, it will mark the first time in program history a UNC graduating class not winning at least one title. This weekends road trip to Los Angeles to play two tough opponents in UCLA and USC was a test of the young lineup’s ability to handle pressure in a true away game.
While they picked up the win on Friday night against UCLA, the Tar Heels did not seem to be in championship form in their early season test against USC.
The Tar Heels will look to rebound from the weekend’s blowout as they kick off conference play against N.C. State in Chapel Hill at 5 p.m. Friday.