No. 10 North Carolina starts off the season in dominant fashion by beating VCU 5-0 at Dorrance Field on Sunday.
UNC set the tone early as not even three minutes into the match, first-year Tessa Dellarose found junior Avery Patterson in the box who put a spectacular header into the goal to take the 1-0 lead.
Just one minute later, senior Julia Dorsey converted off a corner kick from two yards out to double the score.
UNC maintained the offensive pressure with 14 shots in the half, but the Tar Heels would not strike again until 12 seconds left in the half when first-year Tori Dellaperuta scored a diving header to take a commanding 3-0 lead heading into halftime.
Patterson started the second half the same way she started the first as she sent a rocket from 25 yards out into the top right corner to make it 4-0.
To put on the finishing touch, junior Paige Tolentino sent a cross off a corner to Kate Faasse who sent her header into the back of the net for her first career UNC goal.
Allowing only three shots on the day thanks to a sturdy backline, the Tar Heels won 5-0 in their first action of the season.
Who stood out?
Patterson was sharp for UNC as she led the team with two goals. She made the first impression of the season with her header in the third minute, and then had a strike from outside the box to score her second goal on the day. With five goals last season, Patterson could have an even larger role this year.
Dellaperuta also showed out in her UNC debut, notching her first career goal with a diving header at the end of the first half.
The first-year was knocking on the door all game though as she had a goal earlier in the first half that was called off due to an offside call. Regardless, Dellaperuta impressed in her first match by constantly being involved on offense to create multiple scoring chances.
When was it decided?
The Tar Heels stormed out of the gates by scoring two goals within the first five minutes to give themselves a comfortable 2-0 cushion.
But it was the constant offensive pressure North Carolina put on the Rams that put the game out of reach. UNC was often in the attacking third with great ball control from the midfield and crosses from the outside, resulting in 35 total shots, 16 being on goal.
This aggressive style of play on offense led to Dellaperuta’s goal to make it 3-0, making the game all but over before halftime even arrived.
Why does it matter?
For one of the top programs in the country,, last season was certainly considered a down year. The team missed the ACC Tournament for the first time in program history, and then got upset in the first round of the NCAA Tournament by unranked South Carolina.
Looking to bounce back from last season’s ending, today’s performance from the Tar Heels was essential to start off this year with solid momentum.
Not only that, but this is a team that is returning plenty of players from last season. Aside from former goalkeeper Claudia Dickey, every key player from last year returned in addition to the new first-years brought in.
Glimpses of both previous and new talent were shown in the debut, showing that the revamped Tar Heels mean business this season to climb back to the top of college soccer.
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels will be back at Dorrance Field this upcoming Saturday to face BYU in another exhibition at 6 p.m.
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