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Looking back at the best of Anson Dorrance's 900 career wins with UNC women's soccer

Women's Soccer
UNC women's soccer Head Coach Anson Dorrance celebrated his 900th win against Notre Dame on Oct. 24. The Tar Heels defeated the Fighting Irish 2-1 in overtime.

On Sept. 20, 1979, the UNC women’s soccer team led by head coach Anson Dorrance beat Duke 12-0 for their first program victory.

And Dorrance hasn't looked back since.

Dorrance and the program have come a long way over the past 40 years, earning their 900th win in a 2-1 overtime victory over Notre Dame on Oct. 24.

Here are some of Dorrance’s biggest victories that helped get him to the career milestone.

1982 NCAA championship

In what was the first NCAA women’s soccer championship, North Carolina beat Central Florida 2-0 in the finals to capture its first national title. UNC finished the season 19-2, and outscored opponents 8-1 in three tournament games.

More importantly, this win put Dorrance’s team on the map as one of the first powerhouses in women’s soccer for years to come.

1992 National Championship Game

Ten years later, Dorrance would complete back-to-back undefeated seasons, beating Duke by a whopping score of 9-1 in the title game. While the Blue Devils scored the game's first goal, the Tar Heels bounced back by scoring nine in a row to make the game a blowout.

The 1992 UNC team finished 25-0, becoming arguably the best team in NCAA soccer history. This can be attributed to the play of superstar Mia Hamm, who scored three goals in the championship game and broke several records in the process.

During that year, Hamm got the NCAA single-season record for points with 97, and is currently the UNC single-season record holder for most assists with 33, to go along with her 32 goals.

Hamm’s legendary performance on the pitch during her four years with the Tar Heels from 1989 to 1993 furthered Dorrance’s dynasty in women’s soccer. His team won the national championship all four years Hamm played, and went an outstanding 92-1-2 during those seasons.

By 2000, Dorrance won 16 out of 19 national championships with UNC, putting together one of the most dominant two-decade runs for a coach in sports history.

2012 College Cup

On the hunt for its 21st national championship in 2012, North Carolina went up against defending champion Stanford in the semifinals.

In what was a back and forth game, Kealia Ohai scored the game-winner in double overtime to send UNC back to the national championship game, where the Tar Heels ultimately beat Penn State 4-1.

Ohai, the tournament's Most Outstanding Offensive Player, scored in the first minute, and Satara Murray, who was the Most Outstanding Defensive Player, scored the goal to give UNC a crucial 3-1 lead in the second half. 

There were five Tar Heels on the all-tournament team, included current U.S. Women's National Team player Crystal Dunn — just one of many national team players to come from Dorrance's storied program.

North Carolina would finish the season 15-5-3, but still found a way to capture the national title that season.

2021 UNC vs. Notre Dame

With 899 wins, Dorrance was on the doorstep.

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Going up against No. 15 Notre Dame, his team went down by one goal in the 58th minute, a position the Tar Heels have fallen into several times this season. 

After a loss and a tie in the previous two games, an equalizer surely was on the way.

In the 78th minute, sophomore Mollie Baker found first-year Emily Colton across the box who tapped the ball into the goal to tie the game. And 40 seconds into double overtime, sophomore Emily Moxley sent a cross to sophomore Avery Patterson who headed in the game-winner for Dorrance’s 900th win.

With win 901 coming last Thursday against Miami, Dorrance and his squad aren’t showing signs of slowing down with another NCAA tournament coming up as they look to get the program's first national championship in nine years.


@dthsports |