The No. 5 UNC women’s soccer team (10-3, 3-2 ACC) defeated No. 13 Pittsburgh (11-2, 4-1 ACC), 4-0, at Dorrance Field on Saturday.
Tar Heel goalkeeper Emmie Allen saw little action in the early minutes of Thursday night’s matchup, with her team keeping play away from their side of the pitch. The team's first shot on goal came by way of UNC forward Ally Sentnor in the fourth minute.
In the 12th minute, the team's runs at the goal came to fruition with a 20-yard goal from midfielder Sam Meza to give the Tar Heels an early lead.
Pitt made notice of their deficit, moving the ball down the field for their first shot of the game. The shot proved unsuccessful, but luckily for Pitt, UNC’s early success seemed to be burning out. The Tar Heels recorded three fouls in just three minutes and Allen was forced to make her first save of the game when the Panthers made a shot on goal.
The Tar Heels were able to regain their momentum in the 32nd minute, advancing their lead to two with a goal on a header by senior defender Tori Hansen. The goal was a team effort, assisted by defender Paige Tolentino and midfielder Talia Dellaperuta.
Dellaperuta further extended the North Carolina first-half lead, firing a shot into the top-right corner of the goal in the 38th minute. The Panthers looked to adjust, making three substitutions, but they remained scoreless. UNC responded with two more shots by Tolentino and midfielder Bella Sember. After a few more unsuccessful shots, Pitt entered halftime down three goals to none.
The Tar Heels didn’t slow down in the second half. In the first five minutes following the break, the team put up three more shots. The Tar Heels put their fourth goal on the scoreboard with the first career goal for first-year forward Maddie Dahlien, assisted by midfielder Emily Colton.
Who stood out?
Despite coming off the bench, Dellaperuta was the star of the match. After assisting the goal that sparked the Tar Heels’ dominance, Dellperuta became the most essential player on the field. She followed up the assist with two shots on goal just seven seconds apart and stayed hot to score two minutes later.
Meza also shone on the field in the faceoff. Her passes were strong and clean, and her goal gave North Carolina the early lead they were looking for coming off of last weekend’s loss.
Thursday’s win may not have been possible without the resilience of Allen in goal. Although she saw little action in the beginning, Allen ended up recording 4 saves, including a saved penalty kick.
When was it decided?
Although UNC took an early lead, the team’s dominance in the matchup wasn’t truly evident until towards the end of the first half. With four shots in the span of a minute and a third unanswered goal, it was clear that North Carolina was the commanding team.
The Tar Heels outshot the Panthers 9-1 in the second half to secure the clean sheet victory.
Why does it matter?
ACC play hasn’t been particularly promising for North Carolina thus far, with two losses in their last four ACC matchups before Thursday’s game. Pitt, on the other hand, was on a five-game winning streak heading into the matchup. With this dominant win, UNC the Panthers’ winning streak and advances the all-time series record to 6-0, as well as starting a new winning streak for themselves.
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels will remain in Chapel Hill this weekend for Sunday’s 1:00 p.m. rivalry matchup against N.C. State.
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