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No. 2 UNC women's soccer powers past No. 10 Stanford in overtime, 2-1

UNC freshman midfielder Lauren Wrigley (11) chases the ball against Stanford senior forward Abby Gruebel (24) on Sept. 5, 2021. UNC won in overtime 2-1.

The No. 2 North Carolina women's soccer team (6-0) claimed an overtime victory over the No. 10 Stanford Cardinal (3-2), 2-1, at Dorrance Field on Sunday afternoon to remain undefeated.

What happened?

This game was bound to be a good match as both the Cardinal and the Tar Heels are two of the nation's most consistent programs. The Cardinal started off strong as first-year Andrea Kitahata received a through ball and tapped the ball past UNC goalkeeper Claudia Dickey to net the first goal of the game. 

Following Kitahata’s goal, there was an obvious increase in the intensity of the game as both teams picked up their pace. Though North Carolina was struggling to move the ball up the field, the Tar Heel defense played aggressively to stop Stanford from further advancing down the field

After injuring her ankle in the first half, first-year forward Emily Murphy came into the second half at full force and scored North Carolina’s first goal of the game in the 50th minute. Despite no more goals being scored in regulation, the Tar Heels' offensive attack appeared to be in much better rhythm than the first half, racking up 11 shots after the break.

Entering overtime, Stanford and North Carolina both played hard as they attempted to score the final winning goal of the game. With about five minutes remaining in the first overtime period, first-year midfielder Lauren Wrigley was fouled and sophomore forward/midfielder Avery Patterson took the kick. 

Patterson passed the ball to Wrigley as Wrigley attempted to score the winning goal, but it was blocked by Cardinal goalkeeper Katie Meyer.

With less than four minutes left, the pressure was on as the Cardinal tried to get the ball away from their goal and up the field. In a scramble, several North Carolina players — including Murphy, sophomore defender Abby Allen and junior defender Maycee Bell — attempted to get the ball into the goal, which was eventually pushed just past the goal line by Bell to give the Tar Heels the overtime victory.

Who stood out? 

Murphy exploded in the second half of the game as she scored the first goal for North Carolina and her third goal of the season.

Bell has proven to be a player that the team can count on as she is always prepared to stop opponent progression on defense. Bell made several defensive stops and scored the winning goal in overtime, which was her second goal of the season.

Offensively, sophomore forward Emily Moxley played one of her best games this season. She notched an assist when first-year midfielder Emily Colton’s shot was blocked by Meyer and Moxley got the rebound and passed it to Murphy, who scored the Tar Heels first goal of the game.

When was it decided?

After Murphy scored the first goal of the game for the Tar Heels, both teams struggled to score again to secure the win. As time dwindled down, it was obvious that the winning goal would be scored in overtime.

Although the final skirmish made it difficult to credit the goal to a particular player, it was eventually given to Bell, who is now responsible for the game-winner. 

Why does it matter?

In a packed stadium, this game marks the first time that North Carolina has competed against Stanford since the national championship game in 2019. The Tar Heels lost in penalty kicks in that game, so coming back and defeating the Cardinal in overtime served as a point of redemption for North Carolina.

This win against Stanford helped the Tar Heels maintain their undefeated status and continue the season at 6-0.

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels will return to the pitch and head to the University of Florida to take on the Gators. The game will be played on Sept. 9 at 7 p.m. 


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