The second half was more of the same for the Tar Heels, as a number of scoring chances gave the team an opportunity to blow the game open. Jones and junior forward Brianna Pinto each had a good look to extend the Tar Heels’ lead, but two big saves from Proulx kept it close through the middle of the second period. From there, the UNC defense shut down Syracuse to preserve a 2-0 victory.
Although UNC led at halftime, head coach Anson Dorrance challenged the team to make some offensive adjustments.
“I liked how we evolved from just serving the box with crosses to moving the ball a bit and looking for combinations to see if we could get a higher tempo,” Dorrance said. “In the second half, even though we didn’t score, I thought we played a more quality game.”
Who stood out?
UNC was paced offensively by Dellaperuta and Moore, who each netted their first collegiate goals. After the victory, Dorrance harped praise on his young stars.
“I was joking with Talia telling her that was the first of many,” he said. “She’s a significant player for us, and Libby continues to impress.”
Although UNC’s attacking captured most of the spotlight with 24 shots, the defense was also solid, holding Syracuse to a single attempt. It was the team’s fourth consecutive clean sheet, and the unit has only given up one goal the entire season.
When was it decided?
Facing a winless Orange team, the No. 1 Tar Heels came out aggressive and carried that momentum throughout the contest. Once UNC built its lead in the first half, the defense shut down any chance of a Syracuse comeback.
Why does it matter?
The victory allowed the Tar Heels to extend their winning streak and remain unbeaten with just four matches until the start of the ACC Tournament. Despite the nation’s top ranking, Dorrance believes there are some areas the team can improve in as it comes down the homestretch.
“I enjoyed the number of chances we created, but was obviously disappointed in the number of chances we finished,” Dorrance said. “We were getting pressured, but we should be able to do a better job at finishing some of those chances inside 12 (yards). That’s something that we’re going to work on.”
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels will continue their brief road trip this weekend as they travel to Boston College to face off against the Eagles at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
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