The No. 1 North Carolina women’s soccer team (9-0, 8-0 ACC) faced off with No. 13 Notre Dame (4-4, 4-4 ACC) for Senior Night on Sunday. After scoring a goal in each half, the Tar Heels defeated the Fighting Irish, 2-0, to claim the share of their 24th ACC Regular Season Championship and close out a perfect regular season.
An aggressive Tar Heel offense totaled 13 shots and five corners but only two goals, largely due to Notre Dame goalkeeper Mattie Interian, who had 7 saves. While the first half was contentious, the game remained scoreless for the first 35 minutes. This changed when sophomore midfielder Libby Moore connected with sophomore Hallie Klanke to put the Tar Heels up 1-0. The Fighting Irish were unable to score before the period ended and headed into the half trailing in both shots taken and on the scoreboard.
The Tar Heels came out of the break energized, immediately firing off two more shots on goal. The attack paid off when sophomore forward Isabel Cox assisted junior midfielder Brianna Pinto in heading in another goal in the 49th minute. Throughout both halves, an impressive North Carolina defense rendered Notre Dame scoreless, holding Notre Dame to only five shots, including just two shots on goal. The Tar Heel defense has been essential in leading them to the No. 1 ranking in the country and will continue to play a crucial role throughout the upcoming ACC tournament.
Who stood out?
Pinto and Klanke were each essential parts of the Tar Heel victory following their respective goals. Cox and Moore were also keys to the offense in providing assists. Still, the Tar Heels' defense, led by senior Emily Fox, was the star of the show.
On the other side of things, Interian turned in an impressive performance for the Fighting Irish. Her abilities in the goal were a large reason that UNC’s margin of victory wasn’t even larger.
When was it decided?
After claiming a 1-0 lead at the end of the first half, the Tar Heels were never in jeopardy of walking away without a victory thanks to a strong defensive performance. Head coach Anson Dorrance noted the beginning of the game as some of the best soccer he’s seen his team play.