For the No. 3 North Carolina women’s soccer team, Thursday night’s rivalry showdown vs. No. 5 Florida State felt eerily familiar — until the 76th minute, when a go-ahead goal propelled the Tar Heels to a 2-0 victory at Dorrance Field.
In the high stakes rematch of the 2018 NCAA Championship, the Tar Heels and the Seminoles found themselves locked in a scoreless test of wills for much of the game.
UNC dominated the ball offensively, but just as they did in last year’s season finale, the Seminoles narrowly avoided any Tar Heel goals. It felt as if it was only a matter of time until Florida State caught a big break, allowing them to walk away with another 1-0 victory.
That was the score in last year's title game, with FSU scoring the game’s deciding goal in the 59th minute.
“We really just lost that game,” redshirt senior Ru Mucherera said. “It was in our hands, and we let it slip.”
As if residual effects from such a loss weren’t enough, then two tantalizingly close first-half attempts that ricocheted off the goal post seemed to indicate that perhaps Florida State held some intangible leg up over UNC.
That is, until Macherera dispelled any such notion.
In the 76th minute, the redshirt senior exploded down the left side of the field to meet an incisive pass from junior defender Lotte Wubben-Moy. Gallivanting past the slower defender, she quickly found herself one-on-one with the goalie.
The crowd held its breath to see if Mucherera would avenge UNC’s painful loss, or if Florida State would receive yet another fortuitous bounce.