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Saturday February 4th

UNC women's soccer opens ACC play with 3-0 win over Louisville

Women's soccer forward, Bridgette Andrzejewski (4), runs out of the tunnel before a game against Duke on Sunday August 25, 2019. UNC beat Duke 2-0.
Buy Photos Women's soccer forward, Bridgette Andrzejewski (4), runs out of the tunnel before a game against Duke on Sunday August 25, 2019. UNC beat Duke 2-0.

After losing its first game of the season last week against Arkansas, the No. 4 North Carolina women’s soccer team (8-1, 1-0) rallied to a 3-0 win over No. 20 Louisville (7-1, 0-1) Saturday night, giving Louisville its first loss of the year. 

What happened? 

First-year goalkeeper Marz Josephson made scoring hard on the Cardinals by blocking three shots on goal in the first half, one of which was a penalty kick. Junior Emily Fox was whistled for a foul in the penalty box, giving Louisville's Emina Ekic a chance to get the first goal of the game. Josephson made a great save, deflecting the ball off the cross bar to preserve a scoreless game.

Junior Alessio Russo got North Carolina on the board with a goal in the 21st minute, getting the offense started early. Russo’s goal came off a feed from sophomore Brianna Pinto, allowing Russo to dribble past defenders and beat Louisville’s goalkeeper Gabrielle Kouzelos to find the back of the net from about 14 yards out. 

Josephson’s denial of three shots on goal held the Cardinals scoreless to preserve UNC's 1-0 lead at the break. Sophomore Claudia Dickey went in goal for North Carolina after the first half. 

The dominating North Carolina offense continued into the second half. First-year Alexis Strickland made the score 2-0 when she scored her third goal of the season in the 66th minute, thanks to an assist from senior Ru Mucherera.

UNC’s offense continued to pressure, and Russo netted her second goal of the game and sixth of the season off a corner kick by junior Lois Joel in the 81st minute. Dickey made one save in the second half, helping to secure UNC’s seventh shutout victory of the season. 

UNC finished with 10 shots to Louisville’s seven, and seven shots on goal to the Cardinals' four.

Who stood out? 

Russo had a standout game with her third brace of the season, the fifth of her career, and her first goal counting as a game-winner for UNC. Of Russo’s 21 career goals, 12 have been game-winners. Russo is also tied with Pinto for the team lead in scoring with six.

UNC’s goalkeepers combined to get a clean sheet—the 603rd in the team’s history. The Tar Heels now have seven shutouts this season in nine games. 

When was it decided? 

The North Carolina defense shut down the Cardinals early, only allowing four shots all game and preventing them from scoring on the limited chances they created. When the Tar Heels cashed in on their second goal, the game was all but decided.

Why does it matter? 

UNC has opened conference play with a successful start, giving the Tar Heels a boost for tough games coming up. The Tar Heels also hold an 11-game ACC regular-season winning streak.

When do they play next? 

The Tar Heels will return to Chapel Hill this week for back-to back home conference matches. North Carolina will host N.C. State Thursday at 7 p.m. and Notre Dame Sunday at 1 p.m. in the UNC Soccer & Lacrosse Stadium. 

@macyemeyer 

@DTHSports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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