Looking to maintain its dominant record over Virginia Tech (0-3, 0-2 ACC), the North Carolina women’s soccer team (2-0, 2-0 ACC) secured a 1-0 home victory against the Hokies on Sunday.
North Carolina started the game well with the first shot by midfielder Brianna Pinto to the bottom center, which was saved by the Hokie goalkeeper, Alia Skinner.
UNC midfielder Taylor Otto committed a foul at the ninth minute, resulting in the Hokies getting a direct free kick that missed. Just a couple minutes later, a North Carolina corner kick by first-year Paige Tolentino missed long, followed less than three minutes later by another, also missing long.
The breakthrough for the Tar Heels came in the 15th minute when Pinto scored the first goal of the game, with an assist by first-year forward Sam Meza. Another close shot by Pinto followed just four minutes later, but it was saved by Skinner.
The remainder of the half featured some good looks at goal by UNC's Maggie Pierce, Izzy Brown and Maycee Bell, as well as two corner kicks from Pierce and first-year Talia Dellaperuta. Ultimately, though, the first half ended with North Carolina up 1-0.
Having not seen much action yet due to the Tar Heels’ impressive defense, UNC goalkeeper Claudia Dickey made her first, and only, save of the game about 11 minutes into the second half.
Forward Isabel Cox narrowly missed a shot midway through the second half, hitting the right post after a corner kick from Dellaperuta. Although there were multiple shots and corner kicks taken by the Tar Heels, they couldn’t seem to get anything past Skinner in the second half. The game ended with North Carolina winning 1-0.
Who stood out?
Keeping her momentum from the season opener, Pinto led the Tar Heels to victory, scoring the lone goal against the Hokies with one of her five total shots and four shots on goal. Compared to the first game of the season against Wake Forest, Pinto more than doubled her shot count and was the clear focal point of the North Carolina offense.
When was it decided?
When Pinto scored the only goal of the game in the first half, the Hokies still had somewhat of a fighting chance. However, when the Hokies reached the midway point of the second half with their only shot on goal turning out to be an easy save for Claudia Dickey, it was clear that they weren’t going to have many opportunities to come back.
Why does it matter?
The last time North Carolina faced Virginia Tech was a 2-0 victory last year that clinched the Tar Heels' 23rd ACC regular season title. The Tar Heels have consistently bested the Hokies in recent history, with North Carolina winning the last nine meetings between the two teams by a plus-18 goal differential heading into today's match. This game proved to be no different.
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels' next game is at 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 27 against the Blue Devils at Duke University.
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