It had been 369 minutes and 22 seconds since the last time the North Carolina women's soccer team let a ball cross its own goal line. Four games had been played — all shutouts and all wins.
And after UNC's 0-0 tie against Duke Thursday night in Durham, it has been 479 minutes and 22 seconds since a ball has crossed the Tar Heel goal line.
The team's stellar defense has been the storyline of the season. Only two teams have scored a combined four goals against UNC. It's been a combined effort between an elite backline — consisting of veterans Lotte Wubben-Moy, Emily Fox and Lois Joel, plus first-year starter Maycee Bell — and two starting-caliber goalies, Marz Josephson and Claudia Dickey.
"It's a huge shoutout to our backline," sophomore midfielder Brianna Pinto said. "They've been so solid for the last couple games. They really started to gel, they know where everyone's going to be, they communicate and they go hard at the tackles."
The decisive play of the game didn't show on the scoresheet. In the 105th minute of the game, Fox, a junior defender, made a game-saving tackle when a Duke forward had gotten free in transition in front of the UNC goal.
"If I'm being honest, I was pretty panicked," Fox said. "But I knew that I had to obviously win that ball, or if she shot it I had to block it, or else it probably would have been a different result for the game."
That's nothing to say for the rest of the team — North Carolina's fast pace means that while defenders have opportunities to score, forwards and midfielders sometimes have to haul it down the length of the field.
Pinto, the team's leading scorer this season, dropped positions after the first half. After not getting her foot on the ball much, she moved from the 10, attacking midfield, to the 8, the box midfield.
Lower down on the field, she had an opportunity to get the ball earlier and try and make plays. Shifting down also put her in position to make a potentially game-saving play late in the second half, running half the length of the field to knock the ball away from a Duke forward before they could get a shot off.