In its first conference matchup of the season, the No. 2 North Carolina women’s soccer (7-2-0, 0-1 ACC) team fell to No. 7 Virginia (8-0-1, 1-0 ACC) by a score of 3-2 Saturday evening at Dorrance Field.
Through the first ten minutes of the game, the Cavaliers controlled possession, but neither squad was able to break past the chippy opposing defenses.
UNC redshirt first-year Ally Sentnor had the game’s first fast-break opportunity in the 11th minute, but Virginia senior goalkeeper Cayla White tapped the ball over the crossbar to keep the match scoreless.
In the 14th minute, UNC struck first. Sophomore forward Emily Murphy scored off a rebound from Avery Patterson’s first shot of the game. Despite an impressive initial save from UVA’s Cayla White, Murphy capitalized to put the Tar Heels ahead 1-0.
Ally Sentnor scored UNC’s second goal of the evening in the 25th minute as she dribbled past the UVA defense to the left of the goal and snuck a bottom-right shot past Murphy.
The Tar Heels continued to dominate possession at the conclusion of the first half, but the Cavaliers came out of the locker room aggressively to start the second. UVA midfielder Lia Godfrey attempted the Cavaliers’ first shot of the game in the 48th minute, but it was wide right of the goal.
The Cavaliers put their first points on the board nine minutes into the second half on an unassisted fast-break goal by forward Rebecca Jarrett that snuck past UNC goalkeeper Emmie Allen into the right of the net. With 35 minutes remaining, UVA began to close the gap, 2-1.
Nine minutes later, UVA’s Alexa Spaanstra headed a ball into the back of the net off a corner kick to tie the game, 2-2.
UVA’s scoring barrage continued in the 72nd minute as Godfrey booted a deep shot past Allen to score her second goal of the evening and put the Cavaliers ahead 3-2.
Despite several opportunities to tie the game, UNC was unable to find the equalizing points.
Who stood out?
Sentnor made her mark on the game early and often. With her impressive footwork, she scored her second goal of the season in the first half and continued to impress on the offensive end.
Throughout the first half, UVA’s prolific offense headlined by graduate transfer Hailey Hopkins was gridlocked by UNC’s defensive effort. Despite season-ending injuries to senior Maycee Bell and first-year Kayleigh Herr, UNC did not miss a beat in the first half of Saturday's bout. Seniors Julia Dorsey and Emily Moxley shined early in their expanded roles as UVA did not have a single shot on goal until the 48th minute.
UVA’s relentless second-half turnaround was headlined by Lia Godfrey, who persisted past the UNC defense to score two goals.
When was it decided?
The Tar Heels controlled the pace early in the matchup and were able to strike twice in the first half to give them a comfortable lead. UNC’s first-half defensive dominance made a Cavaliers comeback seem unlikely at intermission.
However, UVA came out of the half with an aggressive offensive attack, scoring three goals and putting the Tar Heels behind. The Cavaliers put together a 3-goal run to overcome a 2-0 deficit and put UNC on their heels. After falling behind 3-2, The Tar Heels were unable to score again.
Why does it matter?
Tonight’s defeat is UNC’s second of the season. With the first conference matchup of the season under their belt, the Tar Heels will look to regroup and establish themselves as the dominant ACC force they are expected to be.
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels will travel to New York for a bout against the Syracuse Orange on Thursday night. The game is scheduled for 7 p.m.
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