The North Carolina women's soccer team defeated Wake Forest on Thursday night 4-1 in the first game of the season.
The Tar Heels started the game off strong, with two shots against Wake Forest in the first 10 minutes of the game. The first shot was an upper right shot by forward Isabel Cox, followed by a bottom right shot by forward and midfielder Talia Dellaperuta that was saved by the Deacon's goalkeeper Madison Howard.
However, Wake Forest played strong defense, leaving the game scoreless until over 21 minutes into the game, when UNC midfielder Brianna Pinto scored a goal. Her efforts were matched by forward Rachel Jones, who scored less than two minutes later, bringing the score to 2-0 Tar Heels.
UNC goalkeeper Claudia Dickey didn’t fail to play her part on defense either. In the first half alone, she saved two goals, one from Wake Forest forward Olivia Stowell and the other from midfielder Faith Adams. Despite her strong efforts, one goal got past her in the first half, scored by midfielder Sophie Faircloth, with the Tar Heels ending the first half up 2-1.
The second half, which began in heavy rain, quickly led to an injury for sophomore defender Maycee Bell, who was then substituted out for midfielder and fellow sophomore Maggie Pierce.
Pinto continued to make her mark, making an out top shot seven minutes into the second half. Jones persisted in standing out as well, scoring off a penalty kick that provided UNC with the first goal of the half.
With less than 30 minutes left of playing time, starters were replaced by several sophomores, including forward Hallie Klanke, midfielder Libby Moore and defender Tori Hansen. Klanke managed to score with an assist by Aleigh Gambone.
Who stood out?
Jones led the team in two goals, five shots and four shots on goal. A regular starter last year, the junior is already halfway to the total number of goals she scored in 2019 with four.
When was it decided?
Both teams fought hard — UNC wanting to secure an expected win in their season opener and Wake Forest wanting to redeem themselves after a season opener 3-4 overtime loss against Duke last Thursday. But, after the two goals by UNC in the second half that made the score 4-1, the game was out of reach for the Deacons.
Why does it matter?
UNC is coming off of its 23rd ACC tournament win. They were named as a preseason favorite for this season, receiving eight first place votes, and are expected to have another one of the successful seasons that define their program.
The 4-1 win in the face off against Wake Forest was an exciting start to what one can only expect will be an even more exciting season for UNC women’s soccer, a team known for its success. In the team’s history, they have won 23 ACC championships and 21 NCAA national championships.
When do they play again?
The team plays again on Saturday at 1 p.m. on Dorrance Field, where they will be facing the Virginia Tech Hokies.
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