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Monday March 20th

UNC women's soccer spreads the wealth in 7-1 win over Syracuse

<p>First-year midfielder Brianna Pinto dribbles the ball during UNC's 5-1 win over Louisville on Sept. 29 at WakeMed Soccer Park.</p>
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First-year midfielder Brianna Pinto dribbles the ball during UNC's 5-1 win over Louisville on Sept. 29 at WakeMed Soccer Park.

Seven different Tar Heels scored as the No. 3 North Carolina women’s soccer team defeated Syracuse, 7-1, on the road Sunday afternoon. 

What happened?

UNC (11-2-1, 6-0 ACC) scored twice in the first 25 minutes before Syracuse (3-11-0, 0-5 ACC) could find an answer a few minutes later. In the fifth minute, first-year midfielder Brianna Pinto kicked a free kick that set up junior forward Bridgette Andrzejewski for a header and the first goal of the match.

Then, in the 25th minute, Pinto dished out another assist. This time, she found senior defender Julia Ashley on a corner kick. But the Orange responded in the 28th minute when Syracuse’s Kate Hostage headed a ball into the left side of the box. The Orange’s Meghan Root slid, beat Andrzejewski to the ball and shot it well out of the reach of first-year goalkeeper Claudia Dickey and into the left corner of the net. 

“There’s this distinct, terrifying fear that all of us have in the game that another team can do exactly what Syracuse did, which was to play an aggressive ball into our box, have it redirected to an unmarked player, who then finishes in from close range,” head coach Anson Dorrance said. 

North Carolina scored again in the 35th minute for the final time in the first half. Redshirt senior midfielder Alex Kimball split two Syracuse defenders when she connected for a shot that bounced into the back of the net just seconds before colliding with the Orange’s goalkeeper. 

With a 3-1 advantage at halftime, Dorrance had his mind on more than just winning.

“We talked at the half to the girls (and said), ‘We have a chance to develop a three-goal margin. Let’s do that so that everyone can play,’" he said. "All of us in the game feel comfortable up three.”

The Tar Heels granted Dorrance’s wish in the 69th minute when redshirt senior forward Jessie Scarpa was one-on-one with a Syracuse defender at the top right corner of the box. Scarpa hesitated, then drove right before she found Pinto just a few feet away from the goal. The first-year tapped it in for UNC’s fourth goal. 

Just 10 minutes later, Pinto headed a ball off of a corner kick from redshirt sophomore forward Taylor Otto that bounced and landed at junior midfielder Morgan Goff’s feet. Goff slightly paused and collected herself before drilling North Carolina’s fifth goal into the left pocket of the net. 

Two Tar Heels reserves — junior forward Zoe Redei and Scarpa — scored in the 81st and 85th minute, respectively, to finish the game. Dorrance spoke highly of his veterans on the bench. 

“They’re serving as a great example to the entire roster on how to basically have dignity as a reserve,” Dorrance said. “And when they come in, they’re making hay.”

Who stood out?

Pinto led the team in assists, shots and had the opening goal of the second half. The third-ranked recruit in the class of 2018 has continued to impress. 

When was it decided?

With only a two-goal lead at the half, the game was manageable. But when Pinto scored in the 69th minute while surrounded by three Syracuse defenders, the Orange looked defeated. 

The Tar Heels’ bench played the majority of time the rest of the way, as UNC cruised to a 7-1 victory. 

Why does it matter?

North Carolina won its sixth-consecutive match and is the only undefeated team remaining in the ACC. With four games left in the regular season, the Tar Heels hope to keep their momentum going as they head into ACC tournament play at the month’s end. 

When do they play next?

UNC will travel to Blacksburg, Va., to take on Virginia Tech on Saturday at 7 p.m. 


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