85 minutes and 17 seconds separated the No. 3 UNC women’s soccer team's (10-2-1, 5-0-0 ACC) two goals in its 2-1 win at Notre Dame on Thursday night.
Just 22 seconds into the match, sophomore forward Alessia Russio scored a header with an assist from midfielder Emily Fox. After two fouls, Notre Dame answered with a goal by forward Karin Muya in the 11th minute. UNC had eight fouls before the half ended, tied 1-1.
For the second half, UNC replaced first-year Claudia Dickey at goalie with senior Samantha Leshnak. Notre Dame drew a yellow card in the 47th minute, followed quickly by two missed headers from North Carolina. After the Tar Heels failed to convert on six more shots, and the Irish received another yellow card, it seemed impossible for either team to score.
After over 70 minutes of the ball not seeing the net, redshirt sophomore Taylor Otto scored for the Tar Heels with just 4:21 left in the game, assisted by Russo. Notre Dame drew another yellow card in the 88th minute, and was unable to get another shot in before the game ended.
Who stood out?
Russo, who was named to England's roster for the U20 World Cup this year, scored her fourth goal on the season and had an assist on the second goal. Otto, a team captain, earned her 5th goal on the season to win the game for the Tar Heels. Dickey also performed well, recording four saves in her one half of play.
For the Irish, Muya tied up the game in the first half with her third goal of the season, with assists from senior Sabrina Flores and junior Alexis Martel-Lamothe.
When was it decided?
Although the Tar Heels scored early on, the game was close throughout. It was tied from 11th minute until UNC scored the winning goal in the 86th minute.
Why does it matter?
The Tar Heels have won five straight games since their two losses in three days early in September, proving their ability to bounce back strong. North Carolina has just five games left until the ACC tournament begins on Oct. 28th, and another win helps build the team’s confidence looking forward.
Where do they play next?
North Carolina will face Syracuse (3-10, 0-5 ACC) in Syracuse, N.Y., this Sunday, Oct. 7th, at 1 p.m. The game can be viewed on ACC Network Extra.
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