The UNC women's soccer team (12-3, 5-2 ACC) prevailed over Wake Forest (9-4-2, 3-4 ACC) in a 1-0 win on senior night at Dorrance Field.
UNC established a dominant tone from the start, coming out of the gates aggressive and maintaining possession for the majority of the first ten minutes of the game.
The Tar Heels first shot came in the form of a penalty kick from first-year forward Maddie Dahlien in the third minute that soared above the goal to turn over possession of the ball.
The team was quickly able to regain control and run the ball up the field once more, resulting in a dead-on shot by junior forward and midfielder Avery Patterson from a corner kick in the seventh minute that sailed right into the hands of Wake Forest goalkeeper Kaitlyn Parks.
UNC was afforded a second chance at putting a point on the board with a penalty kick in the 12th minute, but once again the ball off the foot of redshirt first-year forward Ally Sentnor sailed above the crossbar.
It seemed as if the team had finally broken through with a strong shot from graduate forward and midfielder Rachel Jones in the 33rd minute, but once again Parks was able to pick up the ball and clear it out of the box, thwarting the Tar Heel offensive yet again.
The second half began with a bang for UNC, as the Tar Heels immediately made an aggressive run down the field and clocked a shot on goal. They used this renewed energy to capitalize on a tired Wake Forest defense, and senior defender Tori Hansen was able to score off a penalty kick in the 48th minute, officially swinging the momentum of the game in favor of the Tar Heels.
Wake Forest attempted to tie the game once more, with a shot by forward Hannah Johnson off of a corner kick in the 59th minute, but the UNC defensive line held strong and maintained its lead.
Who stood out?
Throughout the game, the spotlight was placed on the defense. Senior midfielder Maggie Pierce, Hansen, and first-year defender and forward Tessa Dellarose put in a formidable defensive effort that worked to limit the Demon Deacons to only one shot in the first half in comparison to the Tar Heels' six. They carried this energy into the second half, shutting down multiple scoring attempts from Wake Forest which culminated in a clean sheet.
When was it decided?
It quickly became evident that UNC was playing to win early in the second half, with both a shot and a goal within the first five minutes. Wake Forest tried to fight back throughout the remainder of the game but ultimately fell short in its efforts.
Why does it matter?
The Tar Heels' definitive victory on senior night boosts confidence going into their last three away matches of the season. With the first round of the NCAA Tournament in early November steadily approaching, the team will look to sustain its winning momentum in order to make a run for the title in its postseason matchups. This win was a key step in achieving UNC's future goals and attaining as high of a conference record as it can manage.
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels play next on Thursday, Oct. 14 at Florida State in their seventh ACC matchup of the season.
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