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The Daily Tar Heel

No. 1 UNC women's soccer draws, 3-3, against No. 3 Florida State

UNC women’s soccer celebrating a goal during the game versus the Florida State Seminoles at Dorrance Field on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023. The Tar Heels tied 3-3.

The No. 1 North Carolina women's soccer team (7-0-4, 2-0-1 ACC) drew, 3-3, against No. 3 Florida State (7-0-1, 2-0-1 ACC) Sunday afternoon in their first match-up since the semi-finals of the 2022 NCAA Championships.

The game marks the fourth time the Tar Heels have not been able to put away a match this season. 

“End game management still seems to be an issue,” head coach Anson Dorrance said. “As I mentioned earlier, the irony is because all of sudden at the end of the game we think we’re pros and we are going to inter-pass at mid-field and keep the ball.”

To open the game, the Tar Heels' only strategy was to attack. In the first 15 minutes alone, UNC had seven corner kick opportunities and six shot attempts. Though the Tar Heels were unable to find the back of the net early, they held the Seminoles to zero shot attempts, completely depleting their scoring arsenal. 

Following a pause in play, Florida State entered the sixteenth minute as a brand new team and capitalized on the lack of UNC defenders near the goal. With redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Emmie Allen as the only defense, FSU midfielder Leilanni Nesbeth distracted Allen to allow freshman forward Jordynn Dudley an easy shot up the middle. The ball found the back of the net, and the Seminoles took an early 1-0 lead. 

Building on the momentum from the goal, FSU took control away from UNC. The match became a back-and-forth contest with the Tar Heels trying to regain the dominant possession they had in the opening minutes. 

As the end of the first half approached, UNC finally found a chance to score after being awarded a penalty kick following a foul from FSU midfielder Sophia Nguyen. However, redshirt senior defender Maycee Bell lofted the ball over the goalpost and into the brick wall behind it, unable to provide the Tar Heels with their first point. 

In the final minutes of the half, sophomore forward Maddie Dahlien and redshirt sophomore midfielder forward Ally Sentnor found themselves with another opportunity. Following a pass from Dahlien, Sentnor was able to shoot from the left side of the goal to meet the top right corner of the net. The Tar Heels exited the field 1-1 with momentum on their side. 

“I knew after we missed the penalty we were right there and we were ready,” Dahlien said. “We were in their box and in their half, and we just needed to keep taking chances. We really had the momentum pretty much the whole first half.”

In the second half, the back-and-forth continued until FSU achieved their third corner shot of the period. Using the corner opportunity to the advantage, Dudley was able to find a hole in the top left corner of the crowded goal to make the score 2-1. With less than 30 minutes left of play, the Tar Heels once again faced an uphill climb. 

With scoring opportunities fading as the clock ran down, North Carolina’s attacks became more aggressive. At the 76 minute mark, the Tar Heels were finally able to level the field. In a scramble, Dahlien found the back of the net with the help of freshman midfielder Evelyn Shores. 

With five minutes remaining in the period, North Carolina seized its first lead of the game with a goal of the foot of sophomore forward midfielder Kate Faassee. Before UNC could clinch the top-five win, FSU found one final answer, when midfielder Mimi Van Zanten landed one last shot in between the posts to tie the game, 3-3, with seven seconds remaining. 

As the Tar Heels look to continue ACC play this season, they are hoping to execute on goal opportunities. 

“I am really proud of the way we stayed with our belief and came back and just the strength and belief in our team is awesome, but we really got to close out those last seconds,” Sentnor said. 

The Tar Heels will hit the road to compete against N.C. State at Dail Soccer Field this Saturday at 7 p.m. 


@dthsports |

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