The No. 3 North Carolina women’s soccer team (5-0-3, 0-0 ACC) drew with No. 12 Alabama (5-0-3, 0-0 SEC), 1-1, in Tuscaloosa on Sunday evening.
The Tar Heels once again showed their ability to compete against a ranked opponent. However, they struggled in capitalizing on scoring opportunities against the Alabama defense.
Starting in dominant form, the Tar Heels took control within the first 15 minutes of the game. Maintaining possession, along with producing numerous attacks, UNC was able to warm up Crimson Tide goalkeeper Coralie Lallier by producing five shots and three shots on goal to Alabama’s zero.
Despite North Carolina's early dominance, it struggled to produce in their attacking half, often losing possession while getting caught offside a total of five times within the first 35 minutes.
Late in the first half, UNC redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Emmie Allen made a diving punch to prevent a dangerous corner attack from Alabama. The Tar Heels put the pressure on in the final minutes of the first half, taking a total of three corners in a row.
Even with a combined total of ten shots and seven corners, the first half remained scoreless and relatively slow, with the Tar Heels’ speed and attacking power often being repressed by Alabamas’ patient defense.
Going into the second half, UNC sophomore forward Maddie Dahlien proved to be one of the most influential players on the pitch, producing two out of UNC's six shots, with both being on target. Lallier also stood out by making four outstanding first half saves.
The second half started the same as the first, with the Tar Heels remaining on the attack but unable to convert opportunities to points. Alabama took advantage of these mistakes by creating a number of counter attacks, gradually wearing down the Tar Heels.
Going into the 58th minute, the Tar Heels broke the dry spell with a goal from senior forward Avery Patterson, going on a run with the ball from within UNC’s own half. Facing a one-goal deficit, Alabama remained resilient and active, as they continued to put the pressure on by attacking with pace and power.