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The Daily Tar Heel

No. 6 UNC women's soccer defeats Kansas 2-0 in NCAA Tournament

After a slow first half, the No. 6 North Carolina Women’s soccer team revved it up in the second period to pull away from Kansas. The Tar Heels powered their way to the third round of the NCAA Tournament with a 2-0 victory.

What happened?

UNC’s day started slow, as the Tar Heels were slow and sloppy coming out of the gate. Fortunately for the Tar Heels, the Jayhawks took their time settling in as well.

A slow-moving first half featured just 12 combined shots, none resulting in goals for either side. Neither side looked particularly impressive, especially through the first 30 minutes of the half.

But near the end of the period, UNC started to build momentum. After trailing Kansas 5-3 in shots, the Tar Heels strung together four straight shots and a few quality chances to end the period.

Coming out of the locker room, the Tar Heels shifted into an entirely new gear. With a newfound pace, UNC started to display its class. Better movement and higher-quality passes started to pay dividends, as the chances began to pile up for North Carolina.

Finally — rather, as usual — Madison Shultz broke through with the game-winning goal. The first-year had played well all game and opened the scoring for her side in stunning fashion. After finding space with a nifty dribble just inside the box, Shultz blasted a left-footed shot into the net.

The Tar Heels coasted until the 78th minute, as Maya Worth extended the Tar Heel lead to two goals. The remaining ten minutes saw UNC pass and dribble out the clock, cruising to the victory and the Sweet-16.

Who stood out?

Shultz, a first-year forward, was stellar throughout the contest. She only had one shot the entire game, but it was all she needed to give UNC the game.

Her goal wasn’t her only contribution, though. Shultz started in the second half and provided UNC with a spark it desperately needed. She pressured the Kansas back line and hustled her way to multiple steals in the final third. Her impact could be seen every time she was on the field.

Shultz has been on a tear of late, scoring four goals in the past six games. Shultz entered UNC’s final regular-season game without a goal, and has scored four game winners since that point.

Why does it matter?

Despite living outside of the top-10 for the majority of this season, the Tar Heels have now advanced further than they did in last year's NCAA Tournament. Last year’s squad climbed as high as No. 1 in the nation before injuries plagued them and eventually contributed to their early NCAA Tournament exit.

This year’s team seems to be peaking at just the right time, getting their players healthy and into the fold more and more as the tournament progresses. UNC will look to continue its dominance into the Sweet 16.

Where do they play next?

The Tar Heels will be back at Fetzer Field on Sunday as they take a familiar foe in Clemson at 1 p.m. in the third round of the NCAA Tournament.


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