The Daily Tar Heel

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Wednesday February 1st

Brianna Pinto powers UNC women's soccer to 3-0 win over Indiana in season opener

<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>
Buy Photos Brianna Pinto in a 2018 game against Louisville. The sophomore defender had the first multi-goal game of her career on Thursday against Indiana.

The No. 2 North Carolina women's soccer team defeated Indiana 3-0 in the team's season opener and the first game for the team in the new UNC Soccer & Lacrosse Stadium. 

What happened?

UNC took an early lead in the first half, scoring 13 minutes into the game on a goal by Bridgette Andrzejewski. The senior forward was assisted by midfielder Taylor Otto, who took control of the ball after a corner kick by forward Alessia Russo exited the box, bouncing to the right side before it was crossed into the middle by Otto. 

The Tar Heels came back minutes later after a yellow card on IU defender Meghan Scott set the team up for a free kick. The shot by Alessia Russo was blocked away from the bottom right corner, but bounced to first-year midfielder Aleigh Gambone, who controlled it by the baseline before crossing it to sophomore midfielder Brianna Pinto for the tap in goal. 

Pinto scored again at the 80:42 mark after taking control of the ball right outside Indiana's box. The goal stopped any comeback attempt Indiana may have hoped for, icing the game for North Carolina. 

Who stood out?

Three first-year players made their first starts in the new stadium: Marz Josephson at goalie, Gambone in the midfield and Maycee Bell at right back. Bell played the entire game and helped fellow defenders Lotte Wubben-Moy and Morgan Goff to a shutout performance. The defense didn't allow any shots on goal the entire game, and just one shot total. Josephson got starting nod over Claudia Dickey, but both goalies played a full 45 minute half. 

Brianna Pinto scored multiple goals for the first time in her career. The two goals she scored are already one third of her season total last year, when she was tied for first on the team with six. The midfielder created her second goal entirely on her own, scoring in the middle of a large group of Indiana players. 

When was it decided?

North Carolina held control over the game the entire 90 minutes, out-shooting the Hoosiers 16-1 and producing seven shots on goal to Indiana's zero. Even though UNC scored its final goal in the last 10 minutes, the match was well in hand before then. The swarming North Carolina defense halted any forward momentum Indiana gained during the match so that the team could open its season with a shutout victory. 

Why does it matter?

The Tar Heels opened up their inaugural game in their new stadium, and their season opener, with a dominant win, making a statement that the team is prepared to make another run deep into the NCAA tournament. 

When do they play next?

North Carolina next plays No. 8 Duke in Chapel Hill on Sunday at 6 p.m. The Blue Devils will be the first preseason ranked team the Tar Heels face this season, and the only ranked team they play until No. 24 LSU on Sept. 5. 

@bg_keyes

@DTHSports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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