The UNC women's soccer team is looking to win its own 'battle for Carolina' on Thursday.
No. 3 North Carolina will look to beat South Carolina in a matchup with the 10th-ranked Gamecocks in Columbia at 7 p.m.
The motivation for this week’s blockbuster is the chance to avenge the team's shocking first-round exit in the 2021 NCAA tournament at the hands of the Gamecocks. The defeat was UNC head coach Anson Dorrance’s sole loss in the tournament’s opening stage in 40 appearances.
After the Tar Heels settled for a second scoreless draw against Wisconsin, North Carolina has since ignited its formerly stagnant offense. Over its past three matches, UNC has outscored opponents 12-1 while notching resume-bolstering wins against No. 19 USC and No. 7 Arkansas.
Here are three keys to preserving North Carolina’s undefeated record and notching another win over a ranked opponent:
Prioritizing shooting fundamentals and finishing
Since the draw against Wisconsin on August 24th, Dorrance has been adamant about sticking to the basics of effective shooting. After the game, Dorrance highlighted the bend of the ball as one of the essential features of successful goal-scoring and emphasized the efficacy of low, powerful strikes.
UNC implemented his advice well in the next game against Southern California, tallying four goals on the scoresheet, including two from first-year midfielder Evelyn Shores.
Capitalizing upon offensive opportunities will be paramount against a stubborn South Carolina backfield. Overseen by 2022 SEC Tournament MVP goalie Heather Hinz, the Gamecocks leaned on their keeper who recorded a clean sheet to knock UNC out of the NCAA tournament in 2021.