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The Daily Tar Heel

No. 3 UNC women's soccer routs No. 24 USC in 4-0 victory

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UNC first-year defender/midfielder Evelyn Shores embraces teammates after her first goal of the women's soccer match against USC at Dorrance Field on Sunday, Aug. 27, 2023. The Tar Heels defeated the Trojans 4-0.

The No. 3 UNC women’s soccer team (2-0-2, 0-0 ACC) paired strong defensive play with clinical finishing on Sunday, defeating No. 24 Southern California (2-1, 0-0 Pac-12), 4-0 at Dorrance Field. The Tar Heels have conceded only one goal in four games to start the season.

Sunday was the first meeting between the Tar Heels and Trojans since the NCAA Tournament in 2019, with defender Maycee Bell scoring the winner in that game to send UNC to the College Cup.

North Carolina pressed high up the pitch from the kickoff, winning the ball back and controlling possession early. Redshirt sophomore forward Ally Sentnor played two through balls down the left flank for first-year forward Olivia Thomas, but the Trojans were able to contain the attack on both occasions. 

In the first 15 minutes, senior forward Avery Patterson’s shot from inside the six-yard box found the side netting and Sentnor blasted one high and wide from just outside the 18-yard box. 

The Tar Heels broke the deadlock in the 25th minute through Sentnor. She picked up the ball on the left wing, drove inside and unleashed a powerful shot from outside the penalty area. The ball hit the bottom of the cross bar before rippling the roof of the net.

UNC dominated play in the first half, outshooting the Trojans 12-0 and led 1-0 at the break. The Tar Heels’ back line provided a platform for success.

“We just know our roles and know what we’re supposed to do,” Bell said. “I think each defender, whether they come off the bench or start, are just great one (versus) one defenders, so we just don’t allow shots. That’s one of our goals for the game is we’re not going to allow shots or corners.”

Early in the second half, USC midfielder Kayla Duran broke up a threatening UNC counter attack when she stopped Thomas with a strong tackle. 

UNC doubled its advantage in the 63rd minute when first-year defender Evelyn Shores scored her first goal as a Tar Heel. Her one-touch finish found the corner from close range and was assisted by a square ball from sophomore forward Kate Faasse.

Shores notched the second goal of her career just two minutes after her first. USC goalkeeper Hannah Dickinson deflected Shores’ shot but couldn’t keep it out.

“I’ve dreamed of coming here since I was like zero,” Shores said. “It’s just surreal to finally be here.”

The Tar Heels added a fourth goal from the penalty spot in the 88th minute. Sophomore forward Tori DellaPeruta won and converted the penalty kick.

Sentnor and Patterson were at the heart of UNC’s attack, dropping deep to link up play and making aggressive forward runs. The UNC midfield, led by senior midfielder Sam Meza, broke up USC attacks and won the ball back all afternoon. The Tar Heels outshot USC 25-5 in a 4-0 victory.

“We played a great game collectively,” Meza said. “I think that was our best game. We really needed that.”

The Tar Heels return to Dorrance Field on Thursday, Aug. 31 when they face Gardner Webb. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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