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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC women's soccer takes down the Cavaliers in a hard fought match

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Virginia players go up against UNC in the women's soccer game at Dorrance field on Friday, Nov. 13, 2020. UNC beat Virginia 2-0 in the ACC semifinal game.

The North Carolina women's soccer team notched another achievement in its dynasty on Friday, beating Virginia 2-0, to advance to the ACC Championship for the 26th time in Anson Dorrance's tenure. 

Dorrance is a goliath in the sport of soccer, stacking up championships faster than some coaches stack up wins, but the feeling of reaching that final championship game never gets old.

"In this conference even qualifying for the tournament is a huge achievement," Dorrance said. "And all eight of the teams, in my opinion, with a break here or there, could win it. So, for us to be in the final I am absolutely overjoyed."

UNC still has an upward battle ahead of them if they want to once again hang an ACC Championship banner on Sunday. North Carolina will face undefeated Florida State, who won its semifinal game a comfortable 4-0, allowing their starting line-up a little more rest. 

The Tar Heels have struggled to put games away so far in this tournament, despite great penetration and opportunities on offense. UNC had seven shots on goal on Friday compared to just four for the Cavaliers and also racked up one more corner than its competition, but still failed to really put the game away until late in the second half.

North Carolina was able to get on the board with just over five minutes left in the first half off a penalty kick goal by keeper Claudia Dickey, but the team would have to wait till well into the second for its first goal of the day in game play. 

The Tar Heels certainly had their chances early in the second half, which Dorrance credited to a good "psychological dimension," but the UVA defense remained stout keeping the deficit to only one goal.

"They came out hard in the second half, we were fortunate not to give up a goal in that first ten or 15 minutes," UVA head coach Steve Swanson said. 

The wait was well worth it, however, when sophomore forward Isabel Cox was fed a ball by junior midfielder Rachel Jones into space and scored.

"My focus was trying to beat the players and I honestly don't know really how it happened. I just saw my opportunity and took it," Cox said.

In competition like the ACC Championship, converting opportunities is critical, especially against a solid UVA team. The Tar Heels will have to continue to capitalize on their chances in Sunday's game against No. 1 seeded Florida State.

Equally as importantly as finishing in the final third, North Carolina's starters will have to find a way to rest up before another demanding game after Virginia's pressure forced them to abandon the team's typical game plan of only 60 minutes a game for starters. Especially because Florida State put their semi-final game away earlier, which opened the door for more game management and rest.

"We're thrilled to be advancing, we're thrilled to get out of the game without an injury, we're a little bit weary," Dorrance said. "Didn't really get to rest legs as much as anyone would like to, but still we are absolutely thrilled to be in the ACC final."

@MaryMacPorter1

@DTHSports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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