Staring down a 1-0 deficit with just over two minutes left on the clock, the No. 5 North Carolina women’s soccer team (10-2-2, 3-1-2 ACC) was in danger of losing its second game of the season.
But then, junior defender Julia Dorsey found herself in the perfect position to tap the ball into the net off of a set piece to tie the match. And then for the third time this year, the Tar Heels escaped with an overtime victory over Boston College (6-7-1, 0-6-0 ACC) in Chestnut Hill.
The Eagles put on some early pressure, forcing UNC senior goalkeeper Claudia Dickey to make a diving save after a steal from midfield opened up an open shot opportunity. The Tar Heels almost answered over 20 minutes later, when two shots from right in front of the goal were turned away by a wall of Boston College defenders.
Boston College would get on the scoreboard first, after forward Sam Smith one-timed a shot past Dickey. It was a lead they’d hold onto until North Carolina was given a corner with around 2:50 left to play thanks to a long-ranged shot from senior forward Rachel Jones that forced the keeper to tap the ball over the goalpost.
The corner kick was controlled by sophomore forward Emily Moxley, who, after having the ball passed back to her, delivered a cross to the ball post. The ball sailed right into the awaiting legs of Dorsey who tapped in it and jumped into her teammate’s arms in elation while Boston College players pleaded for an offsides call.
Heading into overtime, the two teams did not surrender a goal until under three minutes left in the first extra period. Junior midfielder Maggie Pierce made the Eagles pay for a bad turnover right outside the box. She blasted a ball that hit off the goalie’s fingertips and into the back post to secure a Tar Heel victory.
Who stood out?
Dorsey made the most out of her first start of the season. The junior found herself onside and in the best position possible to cash in on a beautiful pass from Moxley.
It did not take long for Dorsey to make an impact, scoring in only her third game of the year. Despite being a regular starter during the past two seasons, it was her first career goal.
Pierce also had a very memorable first career goal, clinching the game for her team with a brilliant strike from outside the box. She was part of a midfield group that stepped up in a big way without sophomore Sam Meza.
When was it decided?
A one-two punch of clutch late goals dramatically swung the match in the Tar Heels’ favor. Dorsey’s goal fully shifted the momentum and Pierce's score took advantage of it.
Why does it matter?
For the second straight game, the Tar Heels have scored a goal in the final 10 minutes to change the result of a match. After winning late against Pittsburgh, UNC dug deep and found a way to win once again, which is something they couldn’t find a way to accomplish in its sole loss of the season against Duke on Sept. 17.
North Carolina now sits one win away from a historic 900th win for head coach Anson Dorrance. The team will get the chance to add to the legendary coach’s legacy against its in-state rival.
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels will head to Raleigh on Saturday to take on N.C. State at 7 p.m.
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