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The Daily Tar Heel

No. 4 UNC women's soccer fights back to tie Virginia Tech, 2-2

UNC sophomore forward Avery Patterson (15) attempts to retrieve the ball back from her opponent during a women's soccer game against Virginia Tech on Sept. 23, 2021, at Dorrance Field. UNC tied 2-2.

The No. 4 North Carolina women’s soccer team (7-1-1, 0-1-1 ACC) matched up against the Virginia Tech Hokies (7-2-1, 1-0-1 ACC), and tied, 2-2.

What happened?

The first bit of action came in the 6th minute when the Hokies were awarded a free kick just outside the box, but the attempt was controlled by UNC’s senior goalkeeper Claudia Dickey.

North Carolina senior midfielder Rachel Jones’ header found the target in the 11th minute but was saved by the Virginia Tech goalkeeper, Alia Skinner.

The Tar Heels maintained the attacking pressure with shots from sophomore Sam Meza in the 17th minute, sophomore Avery Patterson in the 19th minute and first-year Emily Colton in the 25th and 30th minutes, but Skinner was up to the task on each occasion.

The deadlock was broken in the 31st minute by Virginia Tech with a goal from sophomore Tori Powell. 

Despite the deficit, North Carolina continued to pour on quality looks, this time by senior Rachel Dorwart in the 36th and 40th minutes, the latter of which may well have been their best of the half. 

Offensive optimism notwithstanding, the first half ended 1-0 in favor of Virginia Tech. 

As did the first, the second half began with a free kick near the edge of the box, but this time for UNC. However, Jones’ shot wasn’t enough to get past Skinner in the 50th minute.

Colton found the target again in the 54th minute, as did Jones in the 77th, but each of these tries were parried. North Carolina’s attack was quelled in the middle of the second half due to Virginia Tech putting numbers behind the ball to protect their lead.

This tactic worked both defensively and offensively for the Hokies, as junior Nicole Kozlova found the back of the net in the 80th minute off of a counter attack to give her team a 2-0 lead.

This seemed to spell defeat for UNC, but as home fans began to leave Dorrance Field, Patterson curled a shot to the far post for a goal, making the score 2-1 and leaving North Carolina with eight minutes to score and force overtime.

As it turned out, the Tar Heels only needed four minutes. A Colton header found the roof of the net off a corner, tying the game and giving UNC the momentum.

The remainder of regulation was relatively uneventful, and the two teams headed into overtime where a goal would end the game. Despite a barrage of shots from Meza, Colton, and junior Maycee Bell, the game ended in a 2-2 draw.

Who stood out? 

Colton applied much of the attacking pressure for North Carolina, with six shots on target out of seven attempts, one of which was a crucial goal. Jones was integral as well, with six shots and four on target.

When was it decided?

While the game was contested until the final whistle, UNC seemed likely to come out of the game with at least a tie after Colton’s late goal. This moment gave them the impetus to continue pushing the ball forward and keep Virginia Tech on the back foot.

Why does it matter?

The previous game saw North Carolina lose its first ever game at Dorrance Field, and to bounce back in such exciting fashion to secure a draw surely is an achievement they can look back on when faced with any other challenges the long season may bring.

When do they play next?

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The Tar Heels will play the Clemson Tigers on Sunday in the third game of their four-game home stand.