Avery Patterson may not have found the back of the net in North Carolina's 3-2 victory over BYU, but UNC's leading goalscorer found plenty of other ways to help her team win on Sunday.
The junior assisted on all three of the Tar Heels' goals in the round-of-16 matchup at Dorrance Field, helping propel her team to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Women's Soccer Championship.
Earlier in the season, UNC's leading goalscorer said she may not have been so selfless.
Head coach Anson Dorrance said Patterson has always been extremely talented, but the next step in her development was to become more of a team-oriented player. As the left wingback in UNC's new 3-5-2 formation, Patterson has had plenty of opportunities to help out her teammates on both ends of the field.
"Her ability to score goals is certainly unique and very positive, but her game intelligence isn't anywhere near her goalscoring ability, which is sort of a counterintuitive statement," Dorrance said. "What she was doing today, and what she's been doing the last a month or so, is her decision-making is getting better and better and better."
Patterson helped put UNC on the board in the 13th minute after finding senior forward Isabel Cox in space. Cox then passed a through ball to a sprinting Talia DellaPeruta, whose one-on-one opportunity rolled past the keeper for the Tar Heels' first goal of the afternoon.
Several minutes later, BYU answered with a counter-attack to tie the game, and from there, the teams ended the first half with relatively even shot and possession numbers.
Coming out of the break, UNC knew it needed to ramp up the pressure. The Tar Heels did just that, taking the first nine shots of the second half and scoring two goals to go up 3-1. Behind those two scores was Patterson and first-year forward Maddie Dahlien, who recorded the first brace of her college career.
"I think that's just our strength, applying that pressure and making them suffocate defensively," Dahlien said. "And so that was our job coming right out of the half, to make sure to kill the game early on."