The UNC women’s soccer team (15-4-1) began its NCAA Championship run with a 5-0 first-round victory against Old Dominion (9-8-3) on Saturday night.
Early play was dominated by the Tar Heels. The Monarchs cleared the ball out of their box two times before redshirt first-year Ally Sentnor booted UNC’s first shot on goal. Old Dominion quickly responded with a shot of its own on its first attack of the game, but it was easily saved by UNC goalie Emmie Allen near the right post.
Two minutes later, UNC capitalized on its offensive aggression with an unassisted goal by Sentnor. The goalie came up to clear the ball, but Sentnor got there first and easily put it in the back of the net. The domination continued when UNC received its first corner kick opportunity in over 102 minutes of game action, but Old Dominion’s defense cleared it away.
Action slowed after the goal with neither team generating any real opportunities at the net. UNC’s next chance came 17 minutes after its goal when a cross into the box forced the Monarch defense to deflect a Talia DellaPeruta shot. The ensuing corner kick was grabbed in the air by goalkeeper ODU Emily Bredek.
In the 29th minute, the Tar Heels added another tally. A pass from senior defender Tori Hansen led to a one-on-one with the goalie for first-year forward Maddie Dahlien. Dahlien tucked the ball near the left post to put the Tar Heels up 2-0. One last corner kick opportunity was snuffed out by Bredek, and UNC entered the break up by two.
The second half saw more domination from the Tar Heel offensive attack. Less than four minutes in, Hansen assisted on another goal, this time put away by junior forward Avery Patterson. She quickly made her presence felt again with another shot on goal, but Bredek was able to handle it.
UNC was not done, though. Fifteen minutes into the second half, Dahlien found Sentnor in open space, and Bredek had no chance.
The Tar Heels put the icing on the cake with an 89th-minute score by Lauren Wrigley, giving the Tar Heels a five-goal victory.
Who stood out?
Sentnor was the stand-out on offense. She came out fast, recording two shots and a goal in the first ten minutes of game action. She also added another goal in the second half.
Dahlien and Patterson also caused problems for Old Dominion’s defense all night. Both players registered a goal and an assist and were key components of the Tar Heels’ offensive explosion.
When was it decided?
Dahlien’s goal to put the Tar Heels up by two seemed to be an insurmountable lead for the Monarchs, even with over 60 minutes remaining in the game. Old Dominion could only generate one shot on goal in the first half, and the second half was more of the same. UNC’s defense came to play, keeping Allen clean all night.
Why does it matter?
The victory keeps the Tar Heels’ season alive as they look to win the program’s 22nd national championship. Following disappointment in the ACC Championship, the victory will give the team confidence as they progress in the tournament and face tougher opponents. UNC’s offensive performance was also important, considering the Tar Heels only managed one goal during the entirety of the ACC Championship.
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels will play Georgia in the second round on Thursday, Nov. 17 back at Dorrance Field.
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