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Rachel Jones' goal lifts UNC women’s soccer over Florida State to end losing streak

womens soccer v marquette
Forward (19) Alessia Russo shoots during Sunday's game against Marquette.

With a 1-0 win over Florida State on the road, the North Carolina women’s soccer team ended a two-game losing streak in its first match of ACC play. 

The women's soccer program hardly ever loses two games in a row, but a third might have signaled deeper trouble for a team that has struggled to score at times this season. Instead, the team got back on track just in time for conference play, where it will face some of the best competition in the country. 

However, it didn't always look as if the Tar Heels would win. 

Florida State pushed for goals early with a number of good chances to score. 

Just over three minutes into the game, the Seminoles threatened with their first shot of the game deep in Tar Heel territory — a miss wide. By the sixth minute, the team had another chance to take the lead, possibly its best opportunity of the game, but the header missed high.

From there, a number of minutes played out without a shot before North Carolina took control with its own chance at a goal. In the 19th minute, forward Bridgette Andrzejewski missed wide on the first UNC shot of the game. But her activity jumpstarted the offense, which soon after produced the only goal of the game.  

In the 26th minute, first-year Brianna Pinto failed to score twice. Her first shot sailed over the goal, and the second was blocked by FSU goalie Brooke Bollinger. However, the next shot taken by her team found the back of the net. 

The goal finally came in the 29th minute. Forward Taylor Otto sent a ball from the defensive side of the field to sophomore forward Alessia Russo to move it out of UNC territory. Russo weaved through the middle of the field toward the opposite goal but eventually ran out of space to work. 

When she did, she dished it off to the left side to first-year Rachel Jones, who finished for the goal from 15 yards out. In her first career start, Jones scored her first career goal to make the score 1-0. 

The goal from Jones came with 61 minutes left to be played out — but it was enough, combined with solid defensive performance, to hold the Seminoles at bay. At halftime, Florida State held a 6-4 shot advantage but found itself in a hole that was too much to overcome. 

The Seminoles took only two more shots the rest of the game, failing to score on either attempt, while the Tar Heels took two more shots on goal that were would-be goals saved by Bollinger. In the end, the 1-0 lead was enough for the Tar Heels to seal the victory.

The goal by Jones and the win was encouraging for the Tar Heels, and might just be what they needed to power into the meat of the ACC slate. North Carolina has already played some of the best teams in the country this season, but as it enters the most important part of the year, it'll need to continue to find a way to score and win those 1-0 games moving forward. 

North Carolina is back in action on Thursday, Sept. 20 at 4 p.m. on Finley Fields South in Chapel Hill to take on Pittsburgh.

@_JACK54_

@DTHSports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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