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The Daily Tar Heel

No. 2 UNC women's soccer stifles Northwestern in 2-0 win

Freshman forward Emily Murphy (35) moves the ball past the defense at the home game against Northwestern on Sept 2. UNC won 2-0.

The No. 2 North Carolina women's soccer team (5-0) outshot Northwestern (1-3), 17-1, en route to a 2-0 victory at Dorrance Field on Thursday night. 

What happened?

Offensive production came early and often for North Carolina, who shot the ball four times before the 17th minute of play. During this stretch, the Tar Heels found the back of the net when senior forward Rachael Dorwart’s strike opened the scoring to make it 1-0.

Though the ball hardly went into their defensive third during the rest of the first half, the Tar Heels struggled to get a quick passing rhythm going, and only led by the one goal heading into the break.

To begin the second half, the Wildcats played a low block and pressed the ball to the midfield in order to prevent the Tar Heels from gaining early opportunities on goal. The ball remained stalemated in the midfield until the 84th minute of play, when first-year forward Emily Murphy trapped a pass from sophomore forward Avery Patterson and rounded it through a defender. Murphy then passed the ball to senior forward Rachel Jones, who two-touched the ball easily into the wide open net.

After UNC’s second goal, the speed of the game picked up, and the Tar Heels managed to get two more shots on goal by Jones and sophomore forward Emily Moxley before the buzzer sounded. Even battling a tough and prepared Northwestern defense, the Tar Heels still were still able to dominate the match to pick up a 2-0 victory.

Who stood out? 

Dorwart clocked her third goal in the last three games, and finished the game with four shots.

Jones showed off her aggressive nature with two shots on goal and the team’s second goal of the night, recording her first goal of the season.

Murphy’s two shots weren’t the only two things that made her stand out in the game. Her assist to Jones—which could have easily been her goal—drew praise from head coach Anson Dorrance, who called Murphy “unselfish” and “professional.”

When was it decided?

Despite outshooting Northwestern 17-1, the game could have easily gone in either direction until the Tar Heels racked up their second goal with five minutes left in regulation. After that, Northwestern’s defense gave way and the game accelerated as the Tar Heels capitalized on opportunities to play the ball over-the-top to finish the night.

Why does it matter?

After two road wins against Illinois and Ohio State, UNC brought home a crowd of more than 1,700 fans to Dorrance field on the temperate Thursday evening. This game, marking the first time UNC women’s soccer has ever played against Northwestern in its history, helped the No. 2 Tar Heels to improve to 5-0 on the season.

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels will be back in action at Dorrance Field this Sunday at 1 p.m. to take on No. 10 Stanford — a rematch of the national championship match in 2019. 

@DTHSports | 

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