UNC women's soccer gives up last-second goal in draw with No. 3 Florida State
Ten more seconds and the Tar Heels would have been home free.
But it only took five seconds for Seminole midfielder Taylor Huff to line up a corner kick. Two more seconds of airtime for the ball to land on UNC goalkeeper Emmie Allen's fist. Half a second later, Florida State midfielder Mimi Van Zanten drilled the loose ball into the back of the net to force a 3-3 draw with the top-ranked North Carolina women's soccer team.
The Tar Heels' failure to run out the clock at the end of Sunday's top-3 matchup illustrated a continuation of late-game mismanagement leaking over from last season.
“I was certainly disappointed in our endgame,” head coach Anson Dorrance said. “We had opportunities to salt the game."
The Seminoles' last-second goal off a corner kick had striking similarities to the closing seconds of regulation in last year's NCAA Women's College Cup championship game, where the Tar Heels fell to UCLA 3-2.
Despite the flashbacks, Dorrance was unfazed by the resemblance in crucial late-game meltdowns.
“It takes a lot to basically trigger me,” Dorrance said. “So would a soccer game trigger me? Hell no. This is what I do recreationally, and I’m paid for it."
For most of this season, North Carolina's forte has been its defense, allowing just four goals in its first 10 games. Heading into the match, the Tar Heels had not allowed more than 11 shots from any of their opponents.
But none of that mattered in Sunday's defensive meltdown. FSU's high-powered offense put up 19 shots, with its last two goals coming off corner kicks — despite only having three such opportunities to UNC's 10.
It was also the first time this year that the Tar Heels gave up a set-piece goal.
“I’m pretty sure we’re going to be working on [corner kicks] a lot,” redshirt sophomore forward Ally Sentnor said. “In the attack, we’ve just gotta be a little more gritty on our corners, but those are something we’re always going to work on and definitely focus on in the next couple of weeks. Defensively as well, we’ve gotta lock in on those corners and just figure out a way to defend them properly.”
Seminole forward Jordynn Dudley scored in the 63rd minute to put FSU up 2-1, marking the first time UNC had allowed multiple goals this season. In response, the Tar Heels turned to their offense to make something happen.
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With 13 minutes to play, North Carolina bounced back with two goals from sophomore forwards Maddie Dahlien and Kate Faasse.
Dahlien said UNC mustered its comeback by "just staying calm when the other team has momentum and trying to get that momentum back."
“I think the biggest thing in those moments when it is chaotic is gaining possession of the ball and just playing our game,” she said.
But ultimately, despite the offense's efforts, it was those final 10 seconds that let a win slip through the Tar Heels' fingers.
“I’m really proud of the way that we stayed with our belief and we came back, and just the strength and belief in our team was awesome," Sentnor said. "But we’ve really gotta close out those last seconds."