The No. 4 North Carolina women’s soccer team got a 52nd-minute goal from first-year Isabel Cox and played dominant defense to win its ACC home opener, 1-0, against N.C. State.
The Tar Heels (9-1, 2-0 ACC) earned their second consecutive and eighth overall shutout this season Thursday night at the UNC Soccer & Lacrosse Stadium. The Wolfpack fell to 5-4-1 (0-1-1 ACC).
The first ten minutes saw North Carolina rack up five shots to N.C. State’s zero, though none of the shots were on goal. That set the theme for a scoreless first half: the Wolfpack didn’t record a shot, and the Tar Heels had 11 — but only one on goal.
A 15th-minute chance was a close one. Sophomore midfielder Brianna Pinto snuck into the box and positioned herself well for a header. She made contact, but the ball hit off the top of the crossbar and bounced right in front of the goal before being kicked away.
The first ten minutes of the second half were far more eventful. Cox, a first-year from Grimsley High in Greensboro, netted the only goal of the match on a give and go with junior Lois Joel to give the Tar Heels the lead. The Wolfpack recorded their first two shots of the match soon after, and Cox made another run to force a UNC corner kick.
Both teams ripped off a few shots from there, but neither converted, allowing UNC to walk away with a win.
Who stood out?
Cox scored her third goal of the season, and Joel notched her team-high sixth assist this season. Pinto and junior forward Alessia Russo also had three shots each for the Tar Heels.
Head coach Anson Dorrance rotated goalkeepers early last season, and he’s used that same strategy so far in 2019. Goalies Marz Josephson and Claudia Dickey combined for a shutout Thursday night, and neither faced a shot on goal.
When was it decided?
In a match that featured just one goal, Cox’s early second-half strike proved to be the dagger.
Why does it matter?
After losing 2-0 at Arkansas on Sept. 15, the Tar Heels beat No. 20 Louisville on the road, 3-0. With this win, they’re now 2-0 in conference and lead their all-time series against N.C. State, 46-2-2.
Thursday’s match was also nationally televised on the ACC Network. Multiple UNC matches have been broadcast on ACC Network Extra, but this was the team’s first on the main channel.
When do they play next?
UNC completes a two-game home stand Sunday against Notre Dame at 1 p.m. Ahead of the game, North Carolina will officially dedicate the pitch of UNC Soccer & Lacrosse Stadium as Dorrance Field in honor of its legendary women’s soccer coach.
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