The No. 2 North Carolina women’s soccer team continued its strong season with a 1-0 win on the road over Clemson on Sunday afternoon.
Midfielder Dorian Bailey wasted no time in getting the first shot of the game for UNC (8-2-1, 3-0 ACC). The senior’s shot was blocked, but it set the tone for the contest, as the Tar Heels outshot their opponent, 11-6. In the 9th minute, goalkeeper Claudia Dickey saved her lone shot of the half, on an attempt from Clemson (7-4, 2-1 ACC) defender Dani Antieau.
UNC countered the failed attempt with two shots in the next four minutes, but the shots did not prove fruitful. In the 25th minute, midfielder Rachel Jones broke the ice with her second goal of the season. The first-year stole the ball from a Tiger defender, dribbled into the box and fired a shot for the lone goal of the game.
Neither side managed another attempt on frame until the 34th minute of the match, when midfielder Morgan Goff saw her shot sail wide of the net. The Tar Heels marched into the intermission with a 1-0 lead, having outshot the Tigers, 6-1.
Clemson came out firing in the second half, forcing three attempts in just over a two-minute span. However, only the third shot merited a save from keeper Samantha Leshnak, who replaced Dickey in goal to start the second half.
The save was the only one needed from Leshnak and the Tigers managed just two more feeble attempts in the remainder of the match, but neither was on target.
UNC attempted five shots in the second half, but was unable to increase its lead. But with its stout defending, North Carolina held on to the shutout victory.
Who stood it out?
Jones has excelled since moving to the left wing position, a move head coach Anson Dorrance made before the Florida State game. He gave high praise for his young charge following his team's win over Clemson.
“Well, one thing I loved when I recruited her as a high school kid is the fact that she’s a different kind of player," Dorrance said. "And she is different. She plays with a Caribbean Islander flare, which is her heritage, and as a result, its a different kind of game and I really feel like the goal she scored today was reflective of it."
Dickey and Leshnak each made a save in contributing to the team’s seventh clean sheet of the year.
When was it decided?
The game was decided by Jones’ game-winner in the 25th minute. The Tigers never posed much of a threat, attempting just two shots on target over the course of the match.
Why does it matter?
It was the third consecutive victory for the Tar Heels. Following two straight losses in California to ranked squads, Dorrance’s team has steamrolled through the start of ACC play.
“Yeah, I was very happy with our performance," Dorrance said. "In fact, at halftime I really didn’t know what to say because we were doing so many things well. Obviously, the issue that we’re going to continue to have until we solve it, is it’s hard for us to get separation. So what we have to figure out is a better way to close games out."
Where do they play next?
The Tar Heels face Louisville on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. The teams play in Chapel Hill at Finley Fields South.
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