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The Daily Tar Heel

No. 4 UNC women's soccer takes down No. 8 Arkansas, 3-1

UNC redshirt-sophomore midfielder / forward Ally Sentnor (21) dribbles the ball toward the goal during the women's soccer match against Arkansas at Dorrance Field on Sunday, Sept. 3, 2023. The Tar Heels defeated the Razorbacks 3-1.

The No. 4 North Carolina women's soccer team (4-0-2, 0-0 ACC) clawed back to produce an important 3-1 win over No. 8 Arkansas (3-1-1, 0-0 SEC) at Dorrance Field on Sunday. 

The Tar Heels showed their ability to keep their composure while down against a fellow top ten team. After falling out of the top three in Division I rankings, UNC looked to cement its status as one of the top teams in the nation.

Within the first 15 minutes, the Tar Heels came out aggressive, maintaining majority of possession while producing four shots compared to the Razorbacks' one. Despite UNC’s promising start, it still struggled in the attacking half, often losing possession on long balls.

Taking advantage of a mistake from the Tar Heels' back line, Arkansas forward Anna Podojil drew first blood  in the 23rd minute. The goal shifted the game's momentum, allowing for the Razorbacks to start applying pressure against the Tar Heels.

After trailing for 17 minutes, UNC fought hard towards the end of the first half, resulting in a clutch goal by first-year forward Mia Oliaro from outside the box — the first in her career.

“I got the ball and you know, I thought, why not?” Oliaro said. “Anson [Dorrance] keeps telling me to practice, like, 'take your shots.' He wants us to hit the frame, so I just made sure I shot it right where I didn't see the keeper."

The half ended on a physical note, with a potential red card from Podojil, resulting in a review from the video assistant referee that lasted for over 10 minutes. While Podojil was not carded, Arkansas defender Ella Riley received a yellow card in the 42nd minute.

Despite the Razorbacks' aggressiveness, head coach Anson Dorrance enjoyed the challenge.

“We want to play those kinds of teams because we don’t want to have a style to play against that could cause us to get knocked out," Dorrance said. “We played against, in my opinion, one of the most aggressive teams in America. So there’s not going to be another team out there that's going to put us under more pressure than Arkansas.”

Although the score remained even, the Tar Heels showed signs of control, maintaining 62 percent of possession in the first half while tallying 10 shots — three of those being on goal. In the first frame, Arkansas only notched five shots, with two being on goal.

The second half started off slow for the Tar Heels, as they didn't match the same level of ball control as they did in the first half. Twenty minutes into the second half, physicality remained evident, with both sides already combining for 18 fouls.

Redshirt sophomore midfielder Ally Sentnor broke the standstill for the Tar Heels in the 65th minute, knocking in a clever goal from outside the box to put UNC up 2-1.

“We knew we were never out of this game,” Sentnor said. “Ultimately, we got the job done, which was amazing.”

UNC remained resilient while being up, creating a variety of chances that eventually resulted in a goal from senior forward Avery Patterson in the 81st minute of play.

UNC senior forward / midfielder Avery Patterson (15) dribbles the ball towards the goal during the women's soccer match against Arkansas at Dorrance Field on Sunday, Sept. 3, 2023. The Tar Heels defeated the Razorbacks 3-1.

The final eight minutes of the game remained scrappy, with both sides trading shots and possession. North Carolina emerged victorious, with the final score being 3-1.

The Tar Heels will head to Columbia, S.C. next on Sept. 7 to take on No. 13 South Carolina. Kickoff is set at 7 p.m.


@dthsports |

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