For 40 consecutive years, North Carolina women’s soccer head coach Anson Dorrance has helped guide the Tar Heels to the NCAA Tournament.
This past year he made history — but not in the way he wanted to.
UNC fell to South Carolina, 1-0, in the 2021 NCAA Tournament to give Dorrance his first-ever loss in the tournament's opening round.
Instead of dwelling on his now imperfect first-round record, the long-time coach is looking toward the future.
“We’re going to be a very tough team to beat next year," Dorrance said.
UNC has the tools to back up that statement. While other teams will be left depleted after losing players who used their bonus year of eligibility due to COVID-19, North Carolina will be adding to its arsenal. The Tar Heels are bringing in the No. 3 recruiting class in the nation and highest-ranked recruiting class in the ACC, complete with nine players who will increase the depth of the roster.
North Carolina will also have a new offensive option this fall in rising sophomore forward Ally Sentnor. Sentnor, the No. 1 recruit in her class, was sidelined during the 2021 season due to an ACL injury.
“She’s looking amazing,” rising senior defender Maycee Bell said. “Watching her, you’d never be able to tell that she tore her ACL. I think she’s going to be a piece that we missed in the spring, and she’s going to come in and kill it.”
While the Tar Heels will bring back players like Sentnor who are coming off of injuries, they will also return most of their roster. With rising fifth-year forward Rachel Jones using her extra year of eligibility, North Carolina will lose only four players to graduation.